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ILLINOIS UBRARY^ 
M URBANA-CHAMBAIfir 
STACKS 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



MARIE CORELLI 

AL; I HOR OF 

■ARIMTH,' 'a F<0I\IANCE OF TWO WORLDS,' ' J HKI.MA, 

' VENDKTTA I' ETC. 



Not a drop of her blood was human, 

But she was made like a soft sweet woman ' 

Dantk G. RossEiri 




IN Til rep: volumes 

VOL. I. 



LONDON: 
RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON 

i3ttblishcr5 in ODrbinnrjp to ]kUv ^Hajcstii the (Quern 
1892 

\A// rights reserved] 



©Jb^ 




,f 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE. 



The following story does not assume to be 

what is generally understood by a "novel." 

It is simply the account of a strange and 

"^ daring experiment once actually attempted, 

i'cind is offered to those who are interested in 

t the unseen "possibilities" of the Hereafter, 

merely for what it is, — a single episode in 

•^the life of a man who voluntarily sacrificed 

M^iis whole worldly career in a supreme effc^rt 

to prove the apparently Unprovable. 

I 




THE SOUL OF LILITH 



CHAPTER I. 

The theatre was full, — crowded from fioor to 
ceiling ; the lights were turned low to give 
the stage full prominence, — and a large 
audience packed close in pit and gallery as 
well as in balcony and stalls, listened with 
or without interest, whichever way best 
suited their different temperaments and 
manner of breeding, to the well - worn 
famous soliloquy in "Hamlet" — ''To be or 
not to bey It was the first night of a new 
rendering of Shakespeare's ever puzzling 
play, — the chief actor was a great actor, 
albeit not admitted as such by the petty 
cliques, — he had thought out the strange 

VOL. I. I 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



and complex character of the psychological 
Dane for himself, with the result that even 
the listless, languid, generally impassive 
occupants of the stalls, many of whom had 
no doubt heard a hundred Hamlets, were 
roused for once out of their chronic state 
of boredom into something like attention, as 
the familiar lines fell on their ears with a 
slow and meditative richness of accent not 
commonly heard on the modern stage. This 
new Hamlet chose his attitudes well, — instead 
of walking or rather strutting about as he 
uttered the soliloquy, he seated himself and 
for a moment seemed lost in silent thought ; — 
then, without changing his position he began, 
his voice gathering deeper earnestness as the 
beauty and solemnity of the immortal lines 
became more pronounced and concentrated. 

" To die — to sleep ; — 
To sleep !— perchance to dream ; ay, there's the rub, 
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come 
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil 
Must give us pause. . .'' 

Here there was a brief and impressive 
silence. In that short interval, and before 
the actor could resume his speech, a man 
entered the theatre with noiseless step and 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



seated himself in a vacant stall of the second 
row. A few heads were instinctively turned 
to look at him, but in the semi-gloom of the 
auditorium, his features could scarcely be 
discerned, and Hamlet's sad rich voice again 
compelled attention. 

" Who would fardels bear, 
To grunt and sweat under a weary life, 
But that the dread of something after death, 
The undiscovered country from whose bourne 
No traveller returns, puzzles the will 
And makes us rather bear those ills we have 
Than fly to others that we know not of? 
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all ; 
And thus the native hue of resolution 
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought ; 
And enterprises of great pith and moment, 
With this regard, their currents turn awry 
And lose the name of action." 

The scene went on to the despairing inter- 
view with Ophelia, which was throughout 
performed with such splendid force and feel- 
ing as to awaken a perfect hurricane of ap- 
plause ; — then the curtain went down, the 
lights went up, the orchestra recommenced, 
and again inquisitive eyes were turned to- 
wards the latest new-comer in the stalls who 
had made his quiet entrance in the very 
midst of the great philosophical Soliloquy. 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



He was Immediately discovered to be a 
person well worth observing ; and observed 
he was accordingly, though he seemed quite 
unaware of the attention he was attracting. 
Yet he was singular-looking enough to excite 
a little curiosity even among modern fashion- 
able Londoners, who are accustomed to see 
all sorts of eccentric beings, both male and 
female, aesthetic and common-place, and he 
was so distinctively separated from ordinary 
folk by his features and bearing, that the 
rather loud whisper of an irrepressible young 
American woman — " I'd give worlds to know 
who that man is !" was almost pardonable 
under the circumstances. His skin was dark 
as a mulatto's, — yet smooth, and healthily 
coloured by the warm blood flushing through 
the olive tint, — his eyes seemed black, but 
could scarcely be seen on account of the 
extreme length and thickness of their dark 
lashes, — the fine, rather scornful curve of his 
short upper lip was partially hidden by a 
black moustache ; and with all this blackness 
and darkness about his face, his hair, of which 
he seemed to have an extraordinary pro- 
fusion, was perfectly white. Not merely a 



THE SOUL OF LI LITE 



silvery white, but a white as pronounced as 
that of a bit of washed fleece or newly-fallen 
snow. In looking at him it was impossible 
to decide whether he was old or young, — 
because, though he carried no wrinkles or 
other defacing marks of Time's power to 
destroy, his features wore an impress of such 
stern and deeply resolved thought as is seldom 
or never the heritage of those to whom youth 
still belongs. Nevertheless, he seemed a long 
way off from being old, — so that, altogether, 
he was a puzzle to his neighbours in the 
stalls, as well as to certain fair women in the 
boxes, who levelled their opera-glasses at 
him with a pertinacity which might have 
made him uncomfortably self-conscious had 
he looked up. Only he did not look up ; 
he leaned back in his seat with a slightly 
listless air, studied his programme intently, 
and appeared half asleep, owing to the way in 
which his eyelids drooped, and the drowsy 
sweep of his lashes. The irrepressible 
American girl almost forgot " Hamlet," so 
absorbed was she in staring at him, in spite 
of the sotto-voce remonstrances of her decorous 
mother, who sat beside her, — and presently, 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



as if aware of, or annoyed by, her scrutiny, 
he lifted his eyes, and looked full at her. 
With an instinctive movement she recoiled, — 
and her own eyes fell. Never in all her 
giddy, thoughtless little life had she seen 
such fiery, brilliant, night-black orbs, — they 
made her feel uncomfortable, — gave her the 
"creeps," as she afterwards declared; — she 
shivered, drawing her satin opera- wrap more 
closely about her, and stared at the stranger 
no more. He soon removed his piercing 
gaze from her to the stage, for now the great 
" Play scene " of '' Hamlet " was in progress, 
and was from first to last a triumph for the 
actor chiefly concerned. At the next fall of 
the curtain, a fair, dissipated-looking young 
fellow leaned over from the third row of 
stalls, and touched the white-haired individual 
lightly on the shoulder. 

''My dear El-Rami ! You here .^ At a 
theatre ? Why, I should never have thought 
you capable of indulging in such frivolity !" 

"Do you consider 'Hamlet' frivolous .'^" 
queried the other, rising from his seat to 
shake hands, and showing himself to be a 
man of medium height, though having such 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



peculiar dignity of carriage as made him 
appear taller than he really was. 

"Well, no!" — and the young man yawned 
rather effusively. " To tell you the truth, I 
find him insufferably dull." 

''You do?" and the person addressed as 
El-Rami smiled slightly. '' Well, — naturally 
you go with the opinions of your age. You 
would no doubt prefer a burlesque ?" 

" Frankly speaking, I should ! And now 
I begin to think of it, I don't know really 
why I came here. I had intended to look 
in at the Empire — there's a new ballet going 
on there — but a fellow at the club gave me 
this stall, said it was a 'first-night,' and all 
the rest of it---and so " 

" And so Fate decided for you," finished 
El-Rami sedately. " And instead of admiring 
the pretty ladies without proper clothing at 
the Empire, you find yourself here, wonder- 
ing why the deuce Hamlet the Dane could 
not find anything better to do than bother 
himself about his father's ghost ! Exactly ! 
But, being here, you are here for a purpose, 
my friend ;" and he lowered his voice to a 
confidential whisper. " Look ! — Over there — 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



observe her well ! — sits your future wife ;" — 
and he indicated, by the slightest possible 
nod, the American girl before alluded to. 
" Yes, — the pretty creature in pink, with 
dark hair. You don't know her ? No, of 
course you don't — but you will. She will be 
introduced to you to-night before you leave 
this theatre. Don't look so startled — there's 
nothing miraculous about her, I assure you ! 
She is merely Miss Chester, only daughter 
of Jabez Chester, the latest New York 
millionaire. A charmingly shallow, delight- 
fully useless, but enormously wealthy little 
person ! — you will propose to her within a 
month, and you will be accepted. A very 
good match for you, Vaughan — all your 
debts paid, and everything set straight with 
certain Jews. Nothing could be better, 
really —and, remember, — I am the first to 
congratulate you !" 

He spoke rapidly, with a smiling, easy 
air of conviction ; his friend meanwhile 
stared at him in profound amazement and 
something of fear. 

** By Jove, El-Rami !" — he began nervously 
— "you know, this is a little too much of a 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



good thing. It's all very well to play 
prophet sometimes, but it can be overdone." 

'* Pardon !" and El- Rami turned to resume 
his seat. *' The play begins again. Insuffer- 
ably dull as ' Hamlet ' may be, we are bound 
to give him some slight measure of atten- 
tion. 

Vaughan forced a careless smile in response, 
and threw himself indolently back in his own 
stall, but he looked annoyed and puzzled. 
His eyes wandered from the back of El- 
Rami's white head to the half-seen profile 
of the American heiress who had just been 
so coolly and convincingly pointed out to 
him as his future wife. 

" I don't know the girl from Adam," — he 
thought irritably, "and I don't want to know 
her. In fact, I won't know her. And if I 
won't, why, I shan't know her. Will Is 
everything, even according to El-Rami. The 
fellow's always so confoundedly positive of 
his prophecies. I should like to confute him 
for once and prove him wrong." 

Thus he mused, scarcely heeding the 
progress of Shakespeare's great tragedy, till, 
at the close of the scene of Ophelia's burial. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



he saw El- Rami rise and prepare to leave 
the auditorium. He at once rose himself. 

" Are you going ?" he asked. 

"Yes ; — I do not care for ' Hamlet's' end, 
or for anybody's end in this particular play. 
I don't like the hasty and wholesale slaughter 
that concludes the piece. It is inartistic." 

"Shakespeare inartistic?" queried Vaughan, 
smiling. 

"Why yes, sometimes. He was a man, 
not a god ; — and no man's work can be 
absolutely perfect. Shakespeare had his 
faults like everybody else, — and with his great 
genius he would have been the first to own 
them. It is only your little mediocrities who 
are never wrong. Are you going also ?" 

" Yes ; I mean to damage your reputation 
as a prophet, and avoid the chance of 
Introduction to Miss Chester - 
evening, at any rate." 

He laughed as he spoke, ^mi said 

nothing. The two passed * .f the stalls 
together into the lobby, wh they had to 
wait a few minutes to get r hats and 

overcoats, the man in charge of the cloak- 
room having gone to cool his chronic thirst 



THE SOUL OF LILITH ii 



at the convenient " bar." Vaughan made 
use of the enforced delay to light his 
cigar. 

** Did you think it a good ' Hamlet ' ?" he 
asked his companion carelessly while thus 
occupied. 

'* Excellent," replied El-Rami. " The lead- 
ing actor has immense talent, and thoroughly 
appreciates the subtlety of the part he has 
to play ; — but his supporters are all sticks, — 
hence the scenes drag where he himself is 
not in them. That is the worst of the ' star ' 
system, — a system which is perfectly ruinous 
to histrionic art. Still — no matter how it is 
performed, ' Hamlet ' is always interesting. 
Curiously inconsistent, too, but impressive." 

" Inconsistent ? how ?" asked Vaughan, 
beginning to puff rings of smoke into the air, 
and to wonder impatiently how much longer 
the keeper of the cloak-room meant to stay 
absent from his post. 

" Oh, in many ways. Perhaps the most 
glaring inconsistency of the whole conception 
comes out in the great soliloquy, ' To be or 
not to be.' " 

" Really ?" and Vaughan became interested. 



12 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

— "I thought that was considered one of the 
finest bits in the play." 

" So it is. I am not speaking of the lines 
themselves, which are magnificent, but of 
their connection with ' Hamlet's ' own 
character. Why does he talk of a ' bourne 
from whence no traveller returns,' when he 
has, or thinks he has, proof positive of the 
return of his own father in spiritual form ; — 
and it is just concerning that return that he 
makes all the pother ? Don't you see in- 
consistency there ?" 

" Of course, — but I never thought of it," 
said Vaughan, staring. " I don't believe 
anyone but yourself has ever thought of it. 
It is quite unaccountable. He certainly does 
say ' no traveller returns, ' — and he says it 
after he has seen the ghost too." 

" Yes," went on El-Rami, warming with 
his subject. " And he talks of the ' dread 
of something after death," as if it were only 
a ' dread,' and not a Fact ;- whereas if he is 
to believe the spirit of his own father, which 
he declares is * an honest ghost,' there is no 
possibility of doubt on the matter. Does 
not the mournful phantom say — 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 13 



" ' But that I am forbid 
To tell the secrets of my prison-house 
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word 
Would harrow up thy soul ; freeze thy young blood ; 
Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres ; 
Thy knotted and combined locks to part, 
And each particular hair to stand on end. . .' ?" 

'' By Jove ! I say, El-Rami ; don't look 
at me like that !" exclaimed Vaughan un- 
easily, backing away from a too close 
proximity to the brilliant flashing eyes and 
absorbed face of his companion, who had 
recited the lines with extraordinary passion 
and solemnity. 

El-Rami laughed. 

" Did I scare you ? Was I too much in 
earnest ? I beg your pardon ! True enough, — 
' this eternal blazon must not be, to ears of 
flesh and blood !' But, the ' something after 
death ' was a peculiarly aggravating reality 
to that poor ghost, and Hamlet knew that it 
was so when he spoke of it as a mere 'dread.' 
Thus, as I say, he was inconsistent, or, 
rather. Shakespeare did not argue the case 
logically." 

"You would make a capital actor," — said 
Vaughan, still gazing at him in astonishment. 



14 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



"Why, you went on just now as if, — well, as 
if you meant it, you know." 

" So I did mean it," replied El-Rami 
lightly — ''for the moment! I always find 
* Hamlet ' a rather absorbing study ; so will 
you, perhaps, when you are my age." 

''Your age?" and Vaughan shrugged his 
shoulders. " I wish I knew it ! Why, 
nobody knows it. You may be thirty or a 
hundred — who can tell Y' 

"Or two hundred — or even three hundred?" 
queried El-Rami, with a touch of satire in 
his tone; — "why stint the measure of limit- 
less time ? But here comes our recalcitrant 
knave" — this, as the keeper of the cloak- 
room made his appearance from a side-door 
with a perfectly easy and unembarrassed air, 
as though he had done rather a fine thing 
than otherwise in keeping two gentlemen 
waiting his pleasure. " Let us get our 
coats, and be well away before the decree 
of Fate can be accomplished in making 
you the winner of the desirable Chester 
prize. It is delightful to conquer Fate — if 
one can !" 

His black eyes fiashed curiously, and 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



Vaughan paused In the act of throwing on 
his overcoat to look at him again in some- 
thing of doubt and dread. 

At that moment a gay voice exclaimed : 
•'Why, here's Vaughan! — Freddie 
Vaughan — how lucky !" and a big handsome 
man of about two or three and thirty 
sauntered into the lobby from the theatre, 
followed by two ladies. " Look here, 
Vaughan, you're just the fellow I wanted to 
see. We've left Hamlet in the thick of 
his fight, because we're going on to the 
Somers's ball, — will you come with us ? 
And I say, Vaughan, allow me to introduce 
to you my friends — Mrs. Jabez Chester, 
Miss Idina Chester — Sir Frederick Vaughan." 
For one instant Vaughan stood inert and 
stupefied ; the next he remembered himself, 
and bowed mechanically. His presentation 
to the Chesters was thus suddenly effected 
by his cousin. Lord Melthorpe, to whom he 
was indebted for many favours, and whom 
he could not afford to offend by any show 
of brusquerie. As soon as the necessary 
salutations were exchanged, however, he 
looked round vaguely, and in a sort of 



i6 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



superstitious terror, for the man who had 
so surely prophesied this introduction. But 
El-Rami was gone. Silently and without 
adieu he had departed, having seen his word 
fulfilled. 





CHAPTER II. 

" Who is the gentleman that just left you ?" 
asked Miss Chester, smiling prettily up into 
Vaughan's eyes, as she accepted his proffered 
arm to lead her to her carriage, — " Such a 
distinguished-looking dreadful person !" 

Vaughan smiled at this description. 

" He is certainly rather singular in personal 
appearance," he began, when his cousin. Lord 
Melthorpe, interrupted him. 

''You mean El-Rami ? It was El-Rami, 
wasn't it? Ah, I thought so. Why did 
he give us the slip, I wonder .-^ I wish he 
had waited a minute — he is a most interesting 
fellow." 

" But who is \\^T persisted Miss Chester. 
She was now comfortably ensconced in 
her luxurious brougham, her mother beside 

VOL. I. 2 



i8 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

her, and two men of "title" opposite to 
her- — a position which exactly suited the 
aspirations of her soul. " How v^ery tire- 
some you both are ! You don't explain him 
a bit; you only say he is 'interesting,' and 
of course one can see that ; people with such 
white hair and such black eyes are always 
interesting, don't you think so ?" 

"Well, I don't see why they should be," 
said Lord Melthorpe dubiously. " Now, just 
think what horrible chaps Albinos are, and 
they have white hair and pink eyes " 

" Oh, don't drift off on the subject of 
Albinos, please !" pleaded Miss Chester, with 
a soft laugh. \' If you do, I shall never 
know anything about this particular person — 
El-Rami, did you say? Isn't it a very odd 
name ? Eastern, of course ?" 

" Oh yes ! he is a pure Oriental thorough- 
bred," replied Lord Melthorpe, who took 
the burden of the conversation upon himself, 
while he inwardly wondered why his cousin 
Vaughan was in such an evidently taciturn 
mood. "That is, I mean, he is an Oriental 
of the very old stock, not one of the modern 
Indian mixtures of vice and knavery. But 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



when he came from the East, and why he 
came from the East, I don't suppose anyone 
could tell you. I have only met him two 
or three times in society, and on those 
occasions he managed to perplex and fasci- 
nate a good many people. My wife, for 
instance, thinks him quite a marvellous man ; 
she always asks him to her parties, but he 
hardly ever comes. His name in full is 
El-Rami-Zaranos, though I believe he is 
best known as El-Rami simply. " 

''And what is he .'^" asked Miss Chester. 
" An artist ? — a literary celebrity ?" 

" Neither, that I am aware of. Indeed, 
I don't know what he is, or how he lives. 
I have always looked upon him as a sort 
of magician — a kind of private conjurer, you 
know." 

" Dear me !" said fat Mrs. Chester, waking 
up from a semi-doze, and trying to get in- 
terested in the subject. " Does he do draw- 
ing-room tricks ?" 

'' Oh no, he doesn't do tricks ;" and Lord 
Melthorpe looked a little amused. "He 
isn't that sort of man at all ; I'm afraid I 
explain myself badly. I mean that he can 



20 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



tell you extraordinary things about your past 
and future " 

"Oh, by your hand — / know!" and the 
pretty Idina nodded her head sagaciously. 
" There really is something awfully clever 
in palmistry. / can tell fortunes that way !" 

'* Can you ?" Lord Melthorpe smiled in- 
dulgently, and went on, — " But it so happens 
that El- Rami does not tell anything by the 
hand, — he judges by the face, figure, and 
movement. He doesn't make a profession 
of it ; but, really, he does foretell events in 
rather a curious way now and then." 

''He certainly does !" agreed Vaughan, 
rousing himself from a reverie into which he 
had fallen, and fixing his eyes on the small 
piquante features of the girl opposite him. 
" Some of his prophecies are quite remark- 
able." 

'' Really ! How very delightful !" said 
Miss Chester, who was fully aware of Sir 
Frederick's intent, almost searching, gaze, 
but pretended to be absorbed in buttoning 
one of her gloves. " I must ask him to tell 
me what sort of fate is in store for me — 
something awful, I'm positive! Don't you 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 21 

think he has horrid eyes ? — splendid, but 
horrid ? He looked at me in the 
theatre " 

" My dear, you looked at him first," mur- 
mured Mrs. Chester. 

"Yes; but I'm sure I didn't make him 
shiver. Now, when he looked at me, I felt 
as if someone were pouring cold water very 
slowly down my back. It was suck a creepy 
sensation ! Do fasten this, mother — will 
you ?" and she extended the hand with the 
refractory glove upon it to Mrs. Chester, but 
Vaughan promptly interposed : 

*' Allow me !" 

'* Oh, well ! if you know how to ^x. a 
button that is almost off!" she said laugh- 
ingly, with a blush that well became her 
transparent skin. 

"■ I can make an attempt " — said Vaughart, 
with due humility. " If I succeed, will you 
give me one or two dances presently ?" 

''With pleasure!" 

" Oh ! you are coming in to the Somers's, 
then !" said Lord Melthorpe, in a pleased 
tone. *' That's right. You know, Fred, 
you're so absent-minded to-night, that you 



22 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



never said ' Yes ' or ' No ' when I asked 
you to accompany us." 

"Didn't I? I'm awfully sorry!" and, 
having fastened the glove with careful dainti- 
ness, he smiled. " Please set down my rude- 
ness and distraction to the uncanny influence 
of El-Rami ; I can't imagine any other 
reason." 

They all laughed carelessly, as people in 
an idle humour laugh at trifles, and the 
carriage bore them on to their destination — 
a great house in Queens Gate, where a 
magnificent entertainment was being held in 
honour of some Serene and Exalted foreign 
potentate who had taken it into his head to 
see how London amused itself during a 
"season." The foreign potentate had heard 
that the splendid English capital was full of 
gloom and misery — that its women were un- 
approachable, and its men difficult to make 
friends with ; and all these erroneous notions 
had to be dispersed in his serene and exalted 
brain, no matter what his education cost the 
" Upper Ten " who undertook to enlighten 
his barbarian ignorance. 

Meanwhile, the subject of Lord Mel- 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 23 



thorpe's conversation — El-Rami, or El-Rami- 
Zaranos, as he was called by those of his 
own race — was walking quietly homewards 
with that firm, swift, yet apparently unhasting 
pace which so often distinguishes the desert- 
born savage, and so seldom gives grace to 
the deportment of the cultured citizen. It 
was a mild night in May ; the weather was 
unusually fine and warm ; the skies were un- 
darkened by any mist or cloud, and the stars 
shone forth with as much brilliancy as though 
the city lying under their immediate ken had 
been the smiling fairy, Florence, instead 
of the brooding giant, London. Now and 
again El-Rami raised his eyes to the spark- 
ling belt of Orion, which glittered aloft with 
a lustre that is seldom seen in the hazy 
English air ; — he was thinking his own 
thoughts, and the fact that there were many 
passers to and fro in the streets besides him- 
self did not appear to disturb him in the 
least, for he strode through their ranks, with- 
out any hurry or jostling, as if he alone 
existed, and they were but shadows. 

'' What fools are the majority of men !" 
he mused. ''How easy to gull them, and 



24 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

how willing they are to be gulled ! How 
that silly young Vaughan marvelled at my 
prophecy of his marriage ! — as if it were not 
as easy to foretell as that two and two in- 
evitably make four ! Given the characters 
of people in the same way that you give 
figures, and you are certain to arrive at a 
sum-total of them in time. How simple the 
process of calculation as to Vaughan's matri- 
monial prospects ! Here are the set of 
numerals I employed : Two nights ago I 
heard Lord Melthorpe say he meant to 
marry his cousin Fred to Miss Chester, 
daughter of Jabez Chester, of New York,^ — 
Miss Chester herself entered the room a few 
minutes later on, and I saw the sort of 
young woman she was. To-night at the 
theatre I see her again ; — in an opposite box, 
well back in shadow, I perceive Lord Mel- 
thorpe. Young Vaughan, whose character I 
know to be of such weakness that it can be 
moulded whichever way a stronger will turns 
it, sits close behind me ; and I proceed to 
make the little sum-total. Given Lord Mel- 
thorpe, with a determination that resembles 
the obstinacy of a pig rather than of a man ; 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 25 

Frederick Vaughan, with no determination 
at all ; and the little Chester girl, with her 
heart set on an English title, even though it 
only be that of a baronet, and the marriage 
is certain. What was ?^;^certain was the 
possibility of their all meeting to-night ; but 
they were all there, and I counted that pos- 
sibility as the fraction over - there is always 
a fraction over in character-sums ; it stands 
as Providence or Fate, and must always be 
allowed for. I chanced it, — and won. I 
always do win in these things, — these 
ridiculous trifles of calculation, which are 
actually accepted as prophetic utterances by 
people who never will think out anything for 
themselves. Good heavens ! what a monster- 
burden of crass ignorance and wilful stupidity 
this poor planet has groaned under ever 
since it was hurled into space! Immense! — 
incalculable ! And for what purpose ? For 
what progress } For what end ?" 

He stopped a moment ; he had walked 
from the Strand up through Piccadilly, and 
was now close to Hyde Park. Taking out 
his watch, he glanced at the time — it was 
close upon midnight. All at once he was 



26 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

Struck fiercely from behind, and the watch 
he held was snatched from his hand by a 
man who had no sooner committed the theft 
than he uttered a loud cry, and remained 
inert and motionless. El-Rami turned quietly 
round, and surveyed him. 

" Well, my friend?" he inquired blandly— 
" What did you do that for .^" 

The fellow stared about him vaguely, but 
seemed unable to answer, — his arm was 
stiffly outstretched, and the watch was clutched 
fast within his palm. 

*' You had better give that little piece of 
property back to me," w^ent on El-Rami, 
coldly smiling, — and, stepping close up to his 
assailant, he undid the closed fingers one by 
one, and, removing the watch, restored it to 
his own pocket. The thief's arm at the 
same moment fell limply at his side ; but he 
remained where he was, trembling violendy 
as though seized with a sudden ague-fit. 

'' You would find it an inconvenient thing 
to have about you, I assure you. Stolen 
goods are always more or less of a bore. I 
believe. You seem rather discomposed ? 
Ah ! you have had a little shock, — that's all. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



You've heard of torpedos, I dare say ? Well, 
in this scientific age of ours, there are human 
torpedos going about ; and I am one of 
them. It is necessary to be careful whom 
you touch nowadays, — it really is, you know ! 
You will be better presently — take time !" 

He spoke banteringly, observing the thief 
meanwhile with the most curious air, as 
though he were some peculiar specimen of 
beetle or frog. The wretched man's features 
worked convulsively, and he made a gesture 
of appeal : 

" Yer won't 'ave me took up !" he muttered 
hoarsely. '' I'm starvin' !" 

" No, no !" said El-Rami persuasively — 
" you are nothing of the sort. Do not tell 
lies, my friend ; that is a great mistake — as 
great a mistake as thieving. Both things, as 
you practise them, will put you to no end 
of trouble, — and to avoid trouble is the chief 
aim of modern life. You are not starving — 
you are as plump as a rabbit," — and, with a 
dexterous touch, he threw up the man's loose 
shirt-sleeve, and displayed the full, firm flesh 
of the strong and sinewy arm beneath. ''You 
have had more meat in you to-day than I 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



can manage in a week ; you will do very 
well. You are a professional thief, — a sort of 
— lawyer, shall we say ? Only, instead of 
protesting the right you have to live, politely 
by means of documents and red-tape, you 
assert it roughly by stealing a watch. It's 
very frank conduct, — but it is not civil ; and, 
in the present state of ethics, it doesn't pay — 
it really doesn't. I'm afraid I'm boring you ! 
You feel better ? Then — good-evening !" 

He was about to resume his walk, when 
the now-recovered rough took a hasty step 
towards him. 

" I wanted to knock yer down !" he 
began. 

"I know you did," — returned El - Rami 
composedly. ''Well — would you like to try 
again .^" 

The man stared at him, half in amaze- 
ment, half in fear. 

" Yer see," he went on, " yer pulled out 
yer watch, and it was all jools and 
sparkles " 

" And it was a glittering temptation " — 
finished El-Rami. " I see. I had no busi- 
ness to pull it out ; I grant it ; but, being 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 29 

pulled out, you had no business to want it. 
We were both wrong ; let us both endeavour 
to be wiser in future. Good-night !" 

"Well, I'm blowed if ye're not a rum un, 
and an orful un !" ejaculated the man, who 
had certainly received a fright, and was still 
nervous from the effects of it. '' Blowed if 
he ain't the rummest card !" 

But the ''rummest card" heard none of 
these observations. He crossed the road, 
and went on his way serenely, taking up the 
thread of his interrupted musings as though 
nothing had occurred. 

" Fools — fools all !" he murmured. 
"Thieves steal, murderers slay, labourers 
toil, and all men and women lust and live 
and die — to what purpose ? For what pro- 
gress ? For what end ? Destruction or new 
life ? Heaven or hell ? Wisdom or caprice } 
Kindness or cruelty ? God or the Devil ? 
Which? If I knew that I should be wise, — 
but till I know, I am but a fool also, — a 
fool among fools, fooled by a Fate whose 
secret I mean to discover and conquer — and 
defy !" 

He paused, — and, drawing a long, deep 



30 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



breath, raised his eyes to the stars once 
more. His lips moved as though he repeated 
inwardly some vow or prayer, then he pro- 
ceeded at a quicker pace, and stopped no 
more till he reached his destination, which 
was a small, quiet and unfashionable square 
off Sloane Street. Here he made his way 
to an unpretentious-looking little house, semi- 
detached, and one of a row of similar build- 
ings ; the only particularly distinctive mark 
about it being a heavy and massively-carved 
ancient oaken door, which opened easily at 
the turn of his latch-key, and closed after 
him without the slightest sound as he 
entered. 





CHAPTER III 



A DIM red light burned in the narrow hall, 
just sufficient to enable him to see the 
wooden peg on which he was accustomed 
to hang his hat and overcoat, — and as soon 
as he had divested himself of his outdoor 
garb, he extinguished even that faint glimmer 
of radiance. Opening a side-door, he entered 
his ow^n room — a picturesque apartment 
running from east to west, the full length 
of the house. From its appearance it had 
evidently once served as drawing-room and 
dining - room, with folding - doors between ; 
but the folding -doors had been dispensed 
with, and the place they had occupied was 
now draped with heavy amber silk. This 
silk seemed to be of some peculiar and costly 
make, for it sparkled with iridescent gleams 
of silver like diamond-dust when El-Rami 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



turned on the electric burner, which, in the 
form of a large flower, depended from the 
ceiling by quaintly-worked silver chains, and 
was connected by a fine wire with a shaded 
reading-lamp on the table. There was not 
much of either beauty or value in the 
room, — yet without being at all luxurious, 
it suggested luxury. The few chairs were 
of the most ordinary make, all save one, 
which was of finely carved ebony, and was 
piled with silk cushions of amber and red, — 
the table was of plain painted deal, covered 
with a dark woollen cloth worked in and out 
with threads of gold, — there were a few 
geometrical instruments about, — a large pair 
of globes, — a rack on the wall stocked with 
weapons for the art of fence, — and one large 
book-case full of books. An ebony-cased 
pianette occupied one corner, — and on a 
small side-table stood a heavily-made oaken 
chest, brass-bound and double-locked. The 
furniture was completed by a plain camp- 
bedstead such as soldiers use, which at the 
present moment was partly folded up and 
almost hidden from view by a rough bear- 
skin thrown carelessly across it. 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H ^2> 



EI-Rami sat down in the big ebony chair 
and looked at a pile of letters lying on his 
writing-table. They were from all sorts 
of persons, — princes, statesmen, diplomats, 
financiers, and artists in all the professions, — 
he recognised the handwriting on some of 
the envelopes, and his brows contracted in a 
frown as he tossed them aside still unopened. 

''They must wait," he said half aloud. 
"Curious that it is impossible for a man to 
be original without attracting around him 
a set of unoriginal minds, as though he were 
a honey-pot and they the flies ! Who would 
believe that I, poor in worldly goods, and 
living in more or less obscurity, should, 
without any wish of my own, be in touch 
with kings } — should know the last new 
policy of governments before it is made ripe 
for public declaration } — should hold the 
secrets of ' my lord ' and ' my lady ' apart 
from each other's cognisance, and be able 
to amuse myself with their little ridiculous 
matrimonial differences, as though they were 
puppets playing their parts for use at a 
marionette show ! I do not ask these people 
to confide in me, — I do not want them to 

VOL. I. 3 



34 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

seek me out, — and yet the cry is, ' still they 
come !' — and the attributes of my own nature 
are such, that like a magnet, I attract, and 
so am never left in peace. Yet perhaps 
it is well it should be thus, — I need the 
external distraction, — otherwise my mind 
would be too much like a bent bow, — fixed 
on the one centre, — the Great Secret, — and 
its powers might fail me at the last. But 
no ! — failure is impossible now. Steeled 
against love, — hate, — and all the merely 
earthly passions of mankind as I am, — I 
must succeed — and I will !" 

He leaned his head on one hand, and 
seemed to suddenly concentrate his thoughts 
on one particular subject, — his eyes dilated 
and grew luridly brilliant as though sparks 
of fire burnt behind them. He had not 
sat thus for more than a couple of minutes, 
when the door opened gently, and a beautiful 
youth clad in a loose white tunic and vest 
of Eastern fashion, made his appearance, 
and standing silently on the threshold seemed 
to wait for some command. 

" So, Feraz ! you heard my summons ?" 
said El- Rami gently. 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 35 



'' I heard my brother speak," — responded 
Feraz in a low melodious voice that had 
a singularly dreamy far-away tone within 
it — *' Through a wall of cloud and silence 
his beloved accents fell like music on my 
ears ; — he called me and I came." 

And sighing lightly, he folded his arms 
cross-wise on his breast and stood erect and 
immovable, looking like some fine statue 
just endowed by magic with the flush of 
life. He resembled El- Rami in features, 
but was fairer-skinned, — his eyes were softer 
and more femininely lovely, — his hair, black 
as night, clustered in thick curls over his 
brow, and his figure, straight as a young- 
palm-tree, was a perfect model of strength 
united with grace. But just now he had 
a strangely absorbed air, — his eyes, though 
they were intently fixed on El-Rami's face, 
looked like the eyes of a sleep-walker, so 
dreamy were they while wide-open, — and 
as he spoke he smiled vaguely as one who 
hears delicious singing afar off 

El-Rami studied him intently for a minute 
or two, — then, removing his gaze, pressed 
a small silver hand-bell at his side. It rang 
sharply out on the silence. 



36 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

" Feraz !" 

F6raz started, — rubbed his eyes, — glanced 
about him, and then sprang towards his 
brother with quite a new expression, — one 
of grace, eagerness and animation, that in- 
tensified his beauty and made him still more 
worthy the admiration of a painter or a 
sculptor. 

'* El-Rami ! at last! How late you are! 
I waited for you long — and then I slept. 
I am sorry ! But you called me in the usual 
way, I suppose ? — and I did not fail you ? 
Ah no ! I should come to you if I were 
dead !" 

He dropped on one knee, and raised 
El-Rami's hand caressingly to his lips. 

*' Where have you been all the evening .f^" 
he went on. '' I have missed you greatly — 
the house is so silent." 

El - Rami touched his clustering curls 
tenderly. 

" You could have made music in it with 
your lute and voice, Feraz, had you chosen," 
he said. ''As for me, I went to see 
* Hamlet.' " 

*' Oh, why did you go ?" demanded Feraz 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 37 

impetuously, "/would not see it— -no! not 
for worlds ! Such poetry must needs be 
spoilt by men's mouthing of it, — it is better 
to read it, to think it, to feel it, — and so one 
actually sees it, — best." 

"You talk like a poet,"^ — said El- Rami 
indulgently. "You are not much more than 
a boy, and you think the thoughts of youth. 
Have you any supper ready for me ?" 

F^raz smiled and sprang up, left the room, 
and returned in a few minutes with a daintily 
arranged tray of refreshments, which he set 
before his brother with all the respect and 
humility of a well-trained domestic in atten- 
dance on his master. 

"You have supped.'^" El- Rami asked, as 
he poured out wine from the delicately shaped 
Italian flask beside him. 

Feraz nodded. 

" Yes. Zaroba supped with me. But 
she w^as cross to-night — she had nothing to 
say." 

El-Rami smiled. " That is unusual !" 

Feraz went on. "There have been many 
people here, — they all wanted to see you. 
They have left their cards. Some of them 



38 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



asked me my name and who I was. I said 
I was your servant, — but they would not 
believe me. There were great folks among 
them — they came In big carriages with 
prancing horses. Have you seen their 



names ?' 



'' Not I." 

" Ah, you are so indifferent," said Feraz 
gaily, — he had now quite lost his dreamy 
and abstracted look, and talked on in an 
eager boyish way that suited his years, — he 
was barely twenty. "You are so bent on 
great thoughts that you cannot see little 
things. But these dukes and earls who 
come to visit you do not consider themselves 
little, — not they !" 

"Yet many of them are the least among 
little men," said El-Rami with a touch of 
scorn in his mellow accents. " Dowered 
with great historic names which they almost 
despise, they do their best to drag the 
memory of their ancient lineage into dis- 
honour by vulgar passions, low tastes, and 
a scorn as well as lack of true intelligence. 
Let us not talk of them. The English 
aristocracy was once a magnificent tree, but 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 39 



its broad boughs are fallen, — lopped off and 
turned into saleable timber, — and there is 
but a decaying stump of it left. And so 
Zaroba said nothing to you to-night ?" 

" Scarce a word. She was very sullen. 
She bade me tell you all was well, — that 
is her usual formula. I do not understand 
it ; — what is it that should be well or ill } 
You never explain your mystery !" 

He smiled, but there was a vivid curiosity 
in his fine eyes, — he looked as if he would 
have asked more had he dared to do so. 

El-Rami evaded his questioning glance. 
"Speak of yourself," he said. "Did you 
wander at all into your Dreamland to- 
day ?" 

" I was there when you called me," replied 
Feraz quickly. " I saw my home, — its trees 
and flowers, — I listened to the ripple of its 
fountains and streams. It is harvest-time 
there, do you know ? I heard the reapers 
singing as they carried home the sheaves." 

His brother surveyed him with a fixed and 
wondering scrutiny. 

" How absolute you are in your faith!" he 
said half enviously. " You t/iink it is your 



40 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

home, — but it is only an idea after all, — an 
idea, born of a vision." 

'' Does a mere visionary idea engender 
love and longing ?" exclaimed Feraz im- 
petuously. " Oh no, El- Rami, — it cannot 
do so ! I know the land I see so often in 
what you call a 'dream,' — its mountains are 
familiar to me, — its people are my people ; 
yes ! — I am remembered there, and so are 
you, — we dwelt there once, — we shall dwell 
there again. It is your home as well as 
mine, — that bright and far-off star where there 
is no death but only sleep, — why were we 
exiled from our happiness, El- Rami ? Can 
your wisdom tell ?" 

" I know nothing of what you say," 
returned El-Rami brusquely. ''As I told 
you, you talk like a poet, — harsher men than 
I, would add, like a madman. You imagine 
you were born or came into being in a 
different planet to this, — that you lived 
there, — that you were exiled from thence 
by some mysterious doom, and were con- 
demned to pass into human existence here ; — 
well, I repeat, F6raz — this is your own 
fancy, — the result of the strange double life 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 41 



you lead, which Is not by my will or teaching. 
I believe only in what can be proved — and 
this that you tell me is beyond all proof." 

*'And yet," said Feraz meditatively, — 
"though I cannot reason it out, I am sure 
of what I feel. My ' dream ' is more life-like 
than life itself, — and as for my beloved 
people yonder, I tell you I have heard them 
singing the harvest-home." 

And with a quick soft step, he went to 
the piano, opened it and began to play. 
El-Rami leaned back in his chair mute and 
absorbed, — did ever common keyed instru- 
ment give forth such enchanting sounds ? 
Was ever written music known that could, 
when performed, utter such divine and dulcet 
eloquence ? There was nothing earthly in 
the tune, — it seemed to glide from under 
the player's fingers like a caress upon the 
air, — and an involuntary sigh broke from 
El-Rami's lips as he listened. Feraz heard 
that sigh, and turned round smiling. 

*' Is there not something familiar in the 
strain ?" he asked. '' Do you not see them 
all, so fair and light and lithe of limb, coming 
over the fields homewards as the red Ring 



42 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

burns low in the western sky ? Surely — 
surely you remember ?" 

A slight shudder shook El-Rami's frame, — 
he pressed his hands over his eyes, and 
seemed to collect himself by a strong effort, — 
then walking over to the piano, he took 
his young brother's hands from the keys 
and held them for a moment against his 
breast. 

" Keep your illusions " — he said in a low- 
voice that trembled slightly. ''Keep them, — 
and your faith, — together. It is for you to 
dream, and for me to prove. Mine is the 
hardest lot. There may be truth in your 
dreams, — there may be deception in my 
proofs — Heaven only knows! Were you 
not of my own blood, and dearer to me than 
most human things, I should, like every 
scientist worthy of the name, strive to break 
off your spiritual pinions and make of you 
a mere earth-grub even as most of us are 
made, — but I cannot do it, — I have not the 
heart to do it,— and if I had the heart " — 
he paused a moment, — then went on slowly 
— " I have not the power. Good-night!" 

He left the room abruptly without another 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 43 



word or look, — and the beautiful young 
Feraz gazed after his retreating figure doubt- 
fully and with something of wondering regret. 
Was it w^orth while, he thought, to be so 
wise, if wisdom made one at times so sad ? — 
was it well to sacrifice Faith for Fact, when 
Faith was so warm and Fact so cold ? Was 
it better to be a dreamer of things possible, 
or a worker-out of things positive ? And 
how much was positive after all ? and how 
much possible ? He balanced the question 
lightly with himself, — it was like a discord 
in the music of his mind, and disturbed his 
peace. He soon dismissed the jarring- 
thought, however, and closing the piano, 
glanced round the room to make sure that 
nothing more was required for his brother's 
service or comfort that night, and then he 
went away to resume his interrupted 
slumbers, — perchance to take up the chorus 
of his " people " singing in what he deemed 
his native star. 




CHAPTER IV. 



El- Rami meanwhile slowly ascended the 
stairs to the first floor, and there on the 
narrow landing paused, listening. There was 
not a sound in the house, — the delicious 
music of the strange " harvest-song " had 
ceased, though to El-Rami's ears there still 
seemed to be a throb of its melody in the 
air, like perfume left from the carrying by of 
flowers. And with this vague impression 
upon him he listened, — listened as it were to 
the deep silence ; and as he stood in this 
attentive attitude, his eyes rested on a closed 
door opposite to him, — a door which might, 
if taken off its hinges and exhibited at some 
museum, have carried away the palm for 
perfection in panel - painting. It was so 
designed as to resemble a fine trellis-work, 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 45 

hung with pale clambering roses and purple 
passion-flowers, — on the upper half among 
the blossoms sat a meditative cupid, pressing 
a bud against his pouting lips, while below 
him, stretched in full-length desolation on a 
bent bough, his twin brother wept childishly 
over the piteous fate of a butterfly that lay 
dead in his curled pink palm. El - Rami 
stared so long and persistently at the pretty 
picture that it might have been imagined he 
was looking at it for the first time and was 
absorbed in admiration, but truth to tell he 
scarcely saw it. His thoughts were pene- 
trating beyond all painted semblances of 
beauty, — and, — as in the case of his young 
brother Feraz, — those thoughts were speedily 
answered. A key turned in the lock, — the 
door opened, and a tall old woman, bronze- 
skinned, black-eyed, withered, uncomely yet 
imposing of aspect, stood in the aperture. 

*' Enter, El-Rami !" she said in a low yet 
harsh voice — "The hour is late, — but when 
did ever the lateness of hours change or 
deter your sovereign will ! Yet truly as 
God liveth, it is hard that I should seldom be 
permitted to pass a night in peace !" 



46 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



El- Rami smiled indifferently, but made no 
reply, as it was useless to answer Zaroba. 
She was stone deaf, and therefore not in a 
condition to be argued with. She preceded 
him into a small ante-room, provided with 
no other furniture than a table and chair ; — 
one entire side of the wall however was 
hung with a magnificent curtain of purple 
velvet bordered in gold. On the table were 
a slate and pencil, and these implements El- 
Rami at once drew towards him. 

"Has there been any change to-day ?" 
he wrote. 

Zaroba read the words. 

*' None," she replied. 

" She has not moved ?" 

" Not a finger." 

He paused, pencil in hand, — then he 
wrote — 

'' You are ill-tempered. You have your 
dark humour upon you." 

Zaroba's eyes flashed, and she threw up 
her skinny hands with a wrathful gesture. 

*' Dark humour !" she cried in accents that 
were almost shrill — "Ay! — and if it be so, 
El- Rami, what is my humour to you ? Am 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 47 



I anything more to you than a cipher, — a 
mere slave ? What have the thoughts of a 
foolish woman, bent with years and close to 
the dark gateways of the tomb, to do with 
one who deems himself all wisdom ? What 
are the feelings of a wretched perishable 
piece of flesh and blood to a self-centred 
god and opponent of Nature like El-Raml- 
Zaranos !" She laughed bitterly. " Pay no 
heed to me, great Master of the Fates in- 
visible ! — superb controller of the thoughts 
of men ! — pay no heed to Zaroba's ' dark 
humours ' as you call them. Zaroba has no 
wings to soar with — she is old and feeble, 
and aches at the heart with a burden of 
unshed tears, — she would fain have been 
content with this low earth whereon to tread 
in safety, — she would fain have been happy 
with common joys, — but these are debarred 
her, and her lot is like that of many a better 
woman, — to sit solitary among the ashes of 
dead days and know herself desolate !" 

She dropped her arms as suddenly as she 
had raised them. El - Rami surveyed her 
with a touch of derision, and wrote again on 
the slate. 



48 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

" I thought you loved your charge?" 

Zaroba read, and drew herself up proudly, 
looking almost as dignified as El-Rami him- 
self. 

" Does one love a statue ?" she demanded. 
" Shall I caress a picture ? Shall I rain tears 
or kisses over the mere semblance of a life 
that does not live, — shall I fondle hands that 
never return my clasp ? Love ! Love is in 
my heart — yes ! like a shut - up fire in a 
tomb, — but you hold the key, El-Rami, and 
the flame dies for want of air." 

He shrugged his shoulders, and putting 
the pencil aside, wrote no more. Moving 
towards the velvet curtain that draped the 
one side of the room he made an imperious 
sign. Zaroba, obeying the gesture mechani- 
cally and at once, drew a small pulley, by 
means of which the rich soft folds of stuff 
parted noiselessly asunder, displaying such 
a wonderful interior of luxury and loveliness 
as seemed for the moment almost unreal. 
The apartment opened to view was lofty 
and perfectly circular in shape, and was hung 
from top to bottom with silken hangings of 
royal purple embroidered all over with 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 49 

curious arabesque patterns In gold. The 
same rich material was caught up from the 
edges of the ceiling to the centre, like the 
drapery of a pavilion or tent, and was there 
festooned with golden fringes and tassels. 
From out the midst of this warm mass of 
glistening colour, swung a gold lamp which 
shed its light through amber-hued crystal, — 
while the floor below was carpeted with the 
thickest velvet pile, the design being pale 
purple pansies on a darker ground of the 
same almost neutral tint. A specimen of 
everything beautiful, rare and costly seemed 
to have found its way into this one room, 
from the exquisitely wrought ivory figure 
of a Psyche on her pedestal, to the tall vase 
of Venetian crystal which held lightly up to 
view, dozens of magnificent roses that seemed 
born of full midsummer, though as yet in the 
capricious English climate, it was scarcely 
spring. And all the beauty, all the grace, 
all the evidences of perfect taste, art, care 
and forethought, were gathered together 
round one centre, — one unseeing, unre- 
sponsive centre, — the figure of a sleeping 
girl. Pillowed on a raised couch such as 

VOL. I. 4 



50 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



might have served a queen for costliness, 
she lay fast bound in slumber, — a matchless 
piece of loveliness, — stirless as marble, — 
wondrous as the ideal of a poet's dream. 
Her delicate form was draped loosely in a 
robe of purest white, arranged so as to 
suggest rather than conceal its exquisite 
outline, — a silk coverlet was thrown lightly 
across her feet, and her head rested on 
cushions of the softest, snowiest satin. Her 
exceedingly small white hands were crossed 
upon her breast over a curious jewel, — a sort 
of giant ruby cut in the shape of a star, which 
scintillated with a thousand sparkles in the 
light, and coloured the under - tips of her 
fingers with a hue like wine, and her hair, 
which was of extraordinary length and 
beauty, almost clothed her body down to 
the knee, as with a mantle of shimmering 
gold. To say merely that she was lovely 
would scarcely describe her, — for the loveli- 
ness that is generally understood as such, was 
here so entirely surpassed and intensified that 
it would be difficult if not impossible to express 
its charm. Her face had the usual attributes 
of what might be deemed perfection, — that 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 51 

is, the lines were purely oval, — the features 
delicate, the skin most transparently fair, the 
lips a dewy red, and the fringes of the closed 
eyes were long, dark and delicately up- 
curled ; — but this was not all. There was 
something else, — something quite unde- 
finable, that gave a singular glow and 
radiance to the whole countenance, and 
suggested the burning of a light through 
alabaster, — a creeping of some subtle fire 
through the veins which made the fair body 
seem the mere reflection of some greater 
fairness within. If those eyes were to open, 
one thought, how wonderful their lustre must 
needs be ! — if that perfect figure rose up and 
moved, what a harmony would walk the 
world in maiden shape ! — and yet, — watching 
that hushed repose, that scarcely perceptible 
breathing, it seemed more than certain that 
she would never rise, — never tread earthly 
soil in common with earth's creatures, — never 
be more than what she seemed, — a human 
flower, gathered and set apart — for whom ? 
For God's love ? or Man's pleasure ? Either, 
neither, or both ? 

El - Rami entered the rich apartment 



iNlVFRSITY OF ILLINOIS 



52 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

followed by Zaroba, and stood by the couch 
for some minutes in silence. Whatever his 
thoughts were, his face gave no clue to 
them, — his features being as impassive as 
though cast in bronze. Zaroba watched him 
curiously, her wrinkled visage expressive of 
some strongly - suppressed passion. The 
sleeping girl stirred and smiled in her 
sleep, — a smile that brightened her counten- 
ance as much as if a sudden glory had circled 
it with a halo. 

" Ay, she lives for you !" said Zaroba. 
"And she grows fairer every day. She is 
the sun, and you the snow. But the snow- 
is bound to melt in due season, — and even 
you, El-Rami-Zaranos, will hardly baffle the 
laws of Nature !" 

El-Rami turned upon her with a herce 
mute gesture that had something of the 
terrible in it, — she shrank from the cold 
glance of his intense eyes, and in obedience 
to an imperative wave of his hand moved 
away to a further corner of the room, where, 
crouching down upon the floor, she took 
up a quaint implement of work, a carved 
triangular frame of ebony, with which she 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 53 

busied herself, drawing glittering threads in 
and out of it with marvellous speed and 
dexterity. She made a weird picture there, 
squatted on the ground in her yellow cotton 
draperies, her rough gray hair gleaming like 
spun silk in the light, and the shining thread- 
work in her withered hands. El - Rami 
looked at her sitting thus, and was suddenly 
moved with compassion — she was old and 
sad, — poor Zaroba! He went up to her 
where she crouched, and stood above her, 
his ardent fiery eyes seeming to gather all 
their wonderful lustre into one long, earnest 
and pitiful regard. Her work fell from her 
hands, and as she met that burning gaze, 
a vague smile parted her lips, — her frowning 
features smoothed themselves into an expres- 
sion of mingled placidity and peace. 

'* Desolate Zaroba!" said El-Rami slowly 
lifting his hands. ''Widowed and solitary 
soul ! Deaf to the outer noises of the world, 
let the ears of thy spirit be open to my 
voice — and hear thou all the music of the 
past ! Lo, the bygone years return to thee 
and picture themselves afresh upon thy tired 
brain ! — again thou dost listen to the voices 



54 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

of thy children at play, — the wild Arabian 
desert spreads out before thee in the sun like 
a sea of gold, — the tall palms lift themselves 
against the burning sky — the tent is pitched 
by the cool spring of fresh water, — and thy 
savage mate, wearied out with long travel, 
sleeps, pillowed on thy breast. Thou art 
young again, Zaroba ! — young, fair and 
beloved ! — be happy so ! Dream and rest !" 

As he spoke he took the aged woman's 
unresisting hands and laid her gently, gently, 
by gradual degrees down in a recumbent 
posture, and placing a cushion under her head 
watched her for a few seconds. 

" By Heaven !" he muttered, as he heard 
her regular breathing and noted the perfectly 
composed expression of her face. " Are 
dreams after all the only certain joys of life } 
A poet's fancies, — a painter's visions — the 
cloud - castles of a boy's imaginings — all 
dreams ! — and only such dreamers can be 
called happy. Neither Fate nor Fortune 
can destroy their pleasure, — they make sport 
of kings and hold great nations as the merest 
toys of thought — oh sublime audacity of 
Vision ! Would I could dream so ! ■ — or 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 55 

rather, would I could prove my dreams not 
dreams at all, but the reflections of the 
absolute Real ! ' Hamlet ' again ! 

" To die — to sleep — 
To sleep, perchance to dream — ay ! there's the rub !" 

Imagine it! — to die and dream of Heaven — 
or Hell, — and all the while if there should be 
no reality in either !" 

With one more glance at the now soundly 
slumbering Zaroba, he went back to the 
couch, and gazed long and earnestly at the 
exquisite maiden there reclined, — then bend- 
ing over her, he took her small fair left hand 
in his own, pressing his fingers hard round 
the delicate wrist. 

•' Lilith ! — Lilith!" he said in low, yet 
commanding accents. ''Lilith! — Speak to 
me ! I am here !" 





CHAPTER V. 



Deep silence followed his invocation, — a 
silence he seemed to expect and be prepared 
for. Looking at a silver timepiece on a 
bracket above the couch, he mentally counted 
slowly a hundred beats, — then pressing the 
fragile wrist he held still more firmly between 
his fingers, he touched with his other hand 
the girl's brow, just above her closed eyes. 
A faint quiver ran through the delicate 
body, — he quickly drew back and spoke 
again. 

" Lilith ! Where are you ?'' 

The sweet lips parted, and a voice soft as 
whispered music responded — 

*' 1 am here !" 

** Is all well with you i^" 

" All is well !" 



THE SOUL OF LILITH t^y 

And a smile irradiated the fair face with 
such a light as to suggest that the eyes must 
have opened, — but no ! — they were fast shut. 

El-Rami resumed his strange interroga- 
tion. 

" Lilith ! What do you see ?" 

There was a moment's pause, — then came 
the slow response — 

" Many things, — things beautiful and 
wonderful. But you are not among them. 
I hear your voice and I obey it, but I cannot 
see you — I have never seen you." 

El-Rami sighed, and pressed more closely 
the soft small hand within his own. 

'' Where have you been ?" 

" Where my pleasure led me " — came the 
answer in a sleepy yet joyous tone — " My 
pleasure and — your will." 

El - Rami started, but immediately con- 
trolled himself, for Lilith stirred and threw 
her other arm indolently behind her head, 
leaving the great ruby on her breast flash- 
ingly exposed to view. 

" Away, away, far, far away !" she said, 
and her accents sounded like subdued sing- 
ing — '' Beyond, — in those regions whither I 



58 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

was sent — beyond " her voice stopped 

and trailed off into drowsy murmurings — 
"beyond — Sirius — I saw " 

She ceased, and smiled — some happy 
thought seemed to have rendered her mute. 

El-Rami waited a moment, then took up 
her broken speech. 

'* Far beyond Sirius you saw — what .^" 

Moving, she pillowed her cheek upon her 
hand, and turned more fully round towards 
him. 

" I saw a bright new world " — she said, 
now speaking quite clearly and connectedly 
— '*A royal world of worlds; an undis- 
covered Star. There were giant oceans In 
it, — the noise of many waters was heard 
throughout the land, — and there were great 
cities marvellously built upon the sea. I 
saw their pinnacles of white and gold — spires 
of coral, and gates that were studded with 
pearl, — flags waved and music sounded, and 
two great Suns gave double light from 
heaven. I saw many thousands of people^ — 
they were beautiful and happy — they sang 
and danced and gave thanks in the ever- 
lasting sunshine, and knelt in crowds upon 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 59 



their wide and fruitful fields to thank the 
Giver of life Immortal." 

" Life immortal !" repeated El- Rami, — 
*' Do not these people die, even as we ?" 

A pained look, as of wonder or regret, 
knitted the girl's fair brows. 

"There is no death — neither here nor 
there" — she said steadily — " I have told you 
this so often, yet you will not believe. 
Always you bid me seek for death, — I have 
looked, but cannot find it." 

She sighed, and El-Rami echoed the 
sigh. 

" I wish " — and her accents sounded plain- 
tively — " I wish that I could see you ! There 
is some cloud between us. I hear your voice 
and I obey It, but I cannot see who it is that 
calls me." 

El-Rami paid no heed to these dove-like 
murmurlngs, — moreover, he seemed to have 
no eyes for the wondrous beauty of the 
creature who lay thus tranced and in his 
power, — set on his one object, the attain- 
ment of a supernatural knowledge, he looked 
as pitiless and impervious to all charm as 
any Grand Inquisitor of old Spain. 



6o THE SOUL OF LILITH 

'* Speak of yourself and not of me " — he 
said authoritatively, — '' How can you say 
there is no death ?" 

'' I speak truth. There is none." 

'' Not even here ?" 

" Not anywhere." 

" O daughter of vision, where are the 
eyes of your spirit !" demanded El-Rami 
angrily — "Search again and see! Why 
should all Nature arm itself against Death 
if there be no death ?" 

"You are harsh," — said Lilith sorrowfully 
— " Should I tell you what is not true ? If 
I would, I cannot. There is no death — 
there is only change. Beyond Sirius, they 
sleep." 

El-Rami waited ; but she had paused 
again. 

"Go on" — he said — "They sleep — why 
and when ?" 

" When they are weary " — responded 
Lilith. " When all is done that they can 
do, and when they need rest, they sleep, 
and in their sleep they change ; — the change 
is 

She ceased. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 6i 

'' The change is death," — said El-Rami 
positively, — ''for death is everywhere." 

" Not so !" repHed Lilith quickly, and in 
a ringing tone of clarion -like sweetness. 
"The change is life, — for Life is every- 
where !" 

There ensued a silence. The girl turned 
away, and bringing her hand slowly down 
from behind her head, laid it again upon her 
breast over the burning ruby gem. El-Rami 
bent above her closely. 

** You are dreaming, Lilith," — he said as 
though he would force her to own something 
against her will. "You speak unwisely and 
at random." 

Still silence. 

" Lilith !— Lilith !" he called. 

No answer ; — only the lovely tints of her 
complexion, the smile on her lips and the 
tranquil heaving of her rounded bosom in- 
dicated that she lived. 

"Gone!" and El- Rami's brow clouded; 
he laid back the little hand he held in its 
former position and looked at the girl long 
and steadily — "And so firm in her asser- 
tion ! — as foolish an assertion as any of the 



62 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

fancies of Feraz. No death ? — Nay — as well 
say no life. She has not fathomed the secret 
of our passing hence ; no, not though her 
flight has outreached the realm of Sirius. 

"'But that the dread of something after death, 
The undiscovered country from whose bourne 
No traveller returns, puzzles the will.' 

Ay, puzzles the will and confounds it! 
But must I be baffled then ? — or is it my 
own fault that / cannot believe ? Is it 
truly her spirit that speaks to me ? — or is it 
my own brain acting upon hers in a state of 
trance ? If it be the latter, why should she 
declare things that I never dream of, and 
which my reason does not accept as possible? 
And if it is indeed her Soul, or the ethereal 
Essence of her that thus soars at periodic 
intervals of liberty into the Unseen, how is it 
that she never comprehends Death or Pain ? 
Is her vision limited only to behold harmo- 
nious systems moving to a sound of joy ?" 

And seized by a sudden resolution, he 
caught both the hands of the tranced girl and 
held them in his own, the while he fixed his 
eyes upon her quiet face with a glance that 
seemed to shoot forth flame. 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 63 

" Lilith ! Lilith ! By the force of my 
will and mastery over thy life, I bid thee 
return to me ! O flitting spirit, ever bent 
on errands of pleasure, reveal to me the 
secrets of pain ! Come back, Lilith ! I call 
thee — come !" 

A violent shudder shook the beautiful 
reposeful figure, — the smile faded from her 
lips, and she heaved a profound sigh. 

'' I am here !" 

** Listen to my bidding!" said El-Rami, 
in measured accents that sounded almost 
cruel. ''As you have soared to heights 
ineffable, even so descend to lowest depths 
of desolation ! Understand and seek out 
sorrow, — pierce to the root of suffering, — 
explain the cause of unavailing agony ! 
These things exist. Here in this planet of 
which you know nothing save my voice, — 
here, if nowhere else in the wide Universe, 
we gain our bread with bitterness and drink 
our wine with tears. Solve me the mystery 
of Pain, — of Injustice, — of an innocent child's 
anguish on its death-bed, — ay ! though you 
tell me there is no death ! — of a good man's 
ruin, — of an evil woman's triumph, — of 



64 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



despair — of self-slaughter, — of all the horrors 
upon horrors piled, which make up this 
world's present life. Listen, O too ecstatic 
and believing Spirit ! — we have a legend 
here that a God lives, — a wise all-loving 
God, — and He, this wise and loving one, 
has out of His great bounty invented for the 
torture of his creatures, — Hell! Find out 
this Hell, Lilith ! — Prove it ! — bring the plan 
of its existence back to me. Go, — bring 
me news of devils, — and suffer, if spirits can 
suffer, in the unmitigated sufferings of others ! 
Take my command and go hence, — find out 
God's Hell ! — so shall we afterwards know 
the worth of Heaven !" 

He spoke rapidly, — impetuously, — pas- 
sionately ; — and now he allowed the girl's 
hands to fall suddenly from his clasp. She 
moaned a little, — and instead of folding them 
one over the other as before, raised them 
palm to palm in an attitude of prayer. The 
colour faded entirely from her face, — but 
an expression of the calmest, grandest 
wisdom, serenity and compassion came over 
her features as of a saint prepared for 
martyrdom. Her breathing grew fainter and 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 65 

fainter till it was scarcely perceptible, — and 
her lips parted in a short sobbing sigh, 
then they moved and whispered something. 
El-Rami stooped over her more closely. 

'* What is it ?" he asked eagerly — '* what 
did you say ?" 

'' Nothing, . . . only . . . farewell !" and 
the faint tone stirred the silence like the 
last sad echo of a song — " And yet . . . 
once more . . . farewell !" 

He drew back, and observed her intently. 
She now looked like a recumbent statue, 
with those upraised hands of hers so white 
and small and delicate, — and El - Rami 
remembered that he must keep the machine 
of the Body living, if he desired to receive 
through its medium the messages of the 
Spirit. Taking a small phial from his breast, 
together with the necessary surgeon's instru- 
ment used for such purposes, he pricked the 
rounded arm nearest to him, and carefully 
injected into the veins a small quantity of 
a strange sparkling fluid which gave out a 
curiously sweet and pungent odour ; — as he 
did this, the lifted hands fell gently into their 
original position, crossed over the ruby star. 

VOL. T. 5 



66 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

The breathing grew steadier and lighter, — 
the lips took fresh colour, — and El-Rami 
watched the effect with absorbed interest 
and attention. 

" One might surely preserve her body so 
for ever," he mused half aloud. " The tissues 
renewed, — the blood re-organized, — the whole 
system completely nourished with absolute 
purity ; and not a morsel of what is con- 
sidered food, which contains so much organic 
mischief, allowed to enter that exquisitely 
beautiful mechanism, which exhales all waste 
upon the air through the pores of the skin 
as naturally as a flower exhales perfume 
through Its leaves. A wonderful discovery ! 
— if all men knew it, would not they deem 
themselves truly immortal, even here ? But 
the trial Is not over yet, — the experiment is 
not perfect. Six years has she lived thus, 
but who can say whether Indeed Death has 
no power over her ? In those six years she 
has changed, — she has grown from childhood 
to womanhood, — does not change imply age ? 
— and age suggest death, in spite of all 
science ? O inexorable Death ! — I will pluck 
Its secret out If I die In the effort !" 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 67 



He turned away from the couch, — then 
seemed struck by a new idea. 

'' If \ die, did I say? But ca7i I die? Is 
her Spirit right? Is my reasoning wrong? 
Is there no pause anywhere? — no cessation 
of thought ? — no end to the insatiability of 
ambition ? Must we plan and work and 
live — For Ever ?" 

A shudder ran through him, — the notion 
of his own perpetuity appalled him. Passing 
a long mirror framed in antique silver, he 
caught sight of himself in it, — his dark hand- 
some face, rendered darker by the contrasting 
whiteness of his hair, — his full black eyes, — 
his fine but disdainful mouth, — all looked 
back at him with the scornful reflex of his 
own scornful regard. 

He laughed a little bitterly. 

" There you are, El-Rami Zaranos !" he 
murmured half aloud. '' Scoffer and scientist, 
—master of a few common magnetic secrets 
such as the priests of ancient Egypt made 
sport of, though in these modern days of 
'culture,' they are sufficient to make most 
men your tools! What now? Is there no 
rest for the inner calculations of your mind ? 



68 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

Plan and work and live for ever ? Well, 
why not ? Could I fathom the secrets of a 
thousand universes, would that suffice me ? 
No ! I should seek for the solving of a 
thousand more !" 

He gave a parting glance round the 
room, — at the fair tranced form on the 
couch, at the placid Zaroba slumbering in 
a corner, at the whole effect of the sumptuous 
apartment, with its purple and gold, its roses, 
its crystal and ivory adornments, — then he 
passed out, drawing to the velvet curtains 
noiselessly behind him. In the small ante- 
room, he took up the slate and wrote 
upon it — 

" I shall not return hither for forty-eight 
hours. During this interval admit as much 
full daylight as possible. Observe the 
strictest silence, and do not touch her. 

** El-Rami." 

Having thus set down his instructions he 
descended the stairs to his own room, where, 
extinguishing the electric light, he threw him- 
self on his hard camp-bedstead and was soon 
sound asleep. 




CHAPTER VI. 

'* I DO not believe in a future state. I am 
very much distressed about it." 

The speaker was a stoutish, able-bodied 
individual in clerical dress, with rather a 
handsome face and an easy agreeable manner. 
He addressed himself to El-Rami, who, seated 
at his writing-table, observed him with some- 
thing of a satirical air. 

"You wrote me this letter .'^" queried El- 
Rami, selecting one from a heap beside him. 
The clergyman bent forward to look, and 
recognising his own handwriting, smiled a 
bland assent. 

" You are the Rev. Francis Anstruther, 
Vicar of Laneck, — a great favourite with the 
Bishop of your diocese, I understand i^" 

The gentleman bowed blandly again, — 



70 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



then assumed a meek and chastened expres- 
sion. 

" That is, I was a favourite of the Bishop's 
at one time " — he murmured regretfully — 
''and I suppose I am now, only I fear that 
this matter of conscience " 

''Oh, it is a matter of conscience?" said 
El-Rami slowly — "You are sure of that?" 

" Quite sure of that !" and the Reverend 
Francis Anstruther sighed profoundly. 

" ' Thus conscience does make cowards of 
us all 

" I beg your pardon ?" and the clergyman 
opened his eyes a little. 

" Nay, I beg yours ! — I was quoting 
' Hamlet.' " 

" Oh !" 

There was a silence. El-Rami bent his 
dark flashing eyes on his visitor, who seemed 
a little confused by the close scrutiny. It 
was the morning after the circumstances 
narrated in the previous chapter, — the clock 
marked ten minutes to noon, — the weather 
was brilliant and sunshiny, and the tempera- 
ture warm for the uncertain English month 
of May. El-Rami rose suddenly and threw 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 71 

Open the window nearest him, as if he found 
the air oppressive. 

** Why did you seek me out ?" he de- 
manded, turning towards the reverend gentle- 
man once more. 

" Well, it was really the merest acci- 
dent " 

" It always is !" said El- Rami with a slight 
dubious smile. 

" I was at Lady Melthorpe's the other 
day, and I told her my difficulty. She 
spoke of you, and said she felt certain you 
would be able to clear up my doubts " 

"Not at all. I am too busy clearing up 
my own," said El-Rami brusquely. 

The clergyman looked surprised. 

"Dear me! — I thought, from what her 
ladyship said, that you were scientifically 
certain of " 

" Of what ?" interrupted El-Rami—" Of 
myself.-^ Nothing more uncertain in the 
world than my own humour, I assure you ! 
Of others ? I am not a student of human 
caprice. Of life ? — of death ? Neither. I 
am simply trying to prove the existence of a 
* something after death ' — but I am certain 



n THE SOUL OF LILITH 

of nothing, and I believe in nothing, unless 
proved." 

" But," said Mr. Anstruther anxiously — 
'' you will, I hope, allow me to explain that 
you leave a very different impression on the 
minds of those to whom you speak, than the 
one you now suggest. Lady Melthorpe, for 
instance, " 

" Lady Melthorpe believes what it pleases 
her to believe," — said El-Rami quietly — '' All 
pretty, sensitive, imaginative women do. 
That accounts for the immense success of 
Roman Catholicism with women. It is a 
graceful, pleasing, comforting religion, — 
moreover it is really becoming to a woman, 
— she looks charming with a rosary in her 
hand, or a quaint old missal, — and she 
knows it. Lady Melthorpe is a believer in 
ideals, — well, there is no harm in ideals, — 
long may she be able to indulge in them." 

" But Lady Melthorpe declares that you 
are able to tell the past and the future," 
persisted the clergyman — "And that you 
can also read the present ; — if that is so, 
you must surely possess visionary power .•*" 

El-R4mi looked at him stedfastly. 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H y^ 

** I can tell you the past ;" — he said — 
'* And I can read your present ; — and from 
the two portions of your life I can calculate 
the last addition, the Future, — but my cal- 
culation may be wrong. I mean wrong as 
regards coming events ; — past and present I 
can never be mistaken in, because there 
exists a natural law, by which you are bound 
to reveal yourself to me." 

The Reverend Francis Anstruther moved 
uneasily in his chair, but managed to convey 
into his countenance the proper expression of 
politely incredulous astonishment. 

"This natural law," went on El-R^mi, 
laying one hand on the celestial globe as he 
spoke, "has been in existence ever since 
man's formation, but we are only just now 
beginning to discover it, or rather re-discover 
it, since it was tolerably well-known to the 
priests of ancient Egypt. You see this 
sphere ;" — and he moved the celestial globe 
round slowly — " It represents the pattern of 
the heavens according to our solar system. 
Now a Persian poet of old time, declared in 
a few wild verses, that solar systems tak(Mi 
in a mass, could be considered the brain o{ 



74 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



heaven, the stars being the thinking, moving 
molecules of that brain. A sweeping idea, — 
what your line-and-pattern critics would call 
' far-fetched ' — but it will serve me just now 
for an illustration of my meaning. Taking 
this ' brain of heaven ' by way of simile then, 
it is evident we — we human pigmies, — are, 
notwithstanding our ridiculous littleness and 
inferiority, able to penetrate correctly enough 
into some of the mysteries of that star-teem- 
ing intelligence, — we can even take patterns 
of its shifting molecules " — and again he 
touched the globe beside him, — *'we can 
watch its modes of thought — and calculate 
when certain planets will rise and set, — and 
when we cannot see its action, we can get 
its vibrations of light, to the marvellous 
extent of being able to photograph the moon 
of Neptune, which remains invisible to the 
eye even with the assistance of a telescope. 
You wonder what all this tends to ? — well, — 
I speak of vibrations of light from the brain 
of heaven, — vibrations which we know are 
existent ; and which we prove by means o( 
photography ; and because we see the results 
in black and white, we believe in them. But 



I 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 75 

there are other vibrations in the Universe, 
which cannot be photographed, — the vibra- 
tions of the human brain, which like those 
emanating from the ' brain of heaven ' are 
full of light and fire, and convey distinct 
impressions or patterns of thought. People 
speak of ' thought-transference ' from one 
subject to another as if it were a remarkable 
coincidence, — whereas you cannot put a stop 
to the transference of thought. — it is in the 
very air, like the germs of disease or 
health, — and nothing can do away with 
it." 

'' I do not exactly understand " — murmured 
the clergyman with some bewilderment. 

•'Ah, you want a practical demonstration 
of what seems a merely abstract theory ? 
Nothing easier !" — and moving again to the 
table he sat down, fixing his dark eyes keenly 
on his visitor — " As the stars pattern heaven 
in various shapes, like the constellation Lyra, 
or Orion, so you have patterned your brain 
with pictures or photographs of your past 
and your present. A// your past, every 
scene of it, is impressed in the curious little 
brain-particles that lie in their various cells, — 



76 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

you have forgotten some incidents, but they 
would all come back to you if you were 
drowning or being hung ; — because suffoca- 
tion or strangulation would force up every 
infinitesimal atom of brain-matter into extra- 
ordinary prominence for the moment. Natu- 
rally your present existence is the most vivid 
picture with you, therefore perhaps you would 
like me to begin with that ?" 

''Begin? — how?" asked Mr. Anstruther, 
still in amazement. 

"Why, — let me take the impression of 
your brain upon my own. It is quite simple, 
and quite scientific. Consider yourself the 
photographic negative, and me the sensitive 
paper to receive the impression ! I may 
offer you a blurred picture, but I do not 
think it likely. Only if you wish to hide 
anything from me I would advise you not to 
try the experiment.' 

"Really, sir, — this is very extraordinary! 
— I am at a loss to comprehend " 

"Oh, I will make it quite plain to you — ** 
said El-Rami with a slight smile — "There 
is no witchcraft in it — no trickery, — nothing 
but the commonest ABC science. Will 



THE SOUL OF LIUIH y-j 

you try ? — or would you prefer to leave the 
matter alone ? My demonstration will not 
convince you of a 'future state/ which was 
the subject you first spoke to me about, — it 
will only prove to you the physiological 
phenomena surrounding your present con- 
stitution and condition." 

The Reverend Francis Anstruther hesi- 
tated. He was a little startled by the cold 
and convincing manner with which El-Rami 
spoke, — at the same time he did not believe 
in his words, and his own incredulity inclined 
him to see the ''experiment," whatever it was. 
It would be all hocus-pocus, of course, — this 
Oriental fellow could know nothing about 
him, — he had never seen him before, and 
must therefore be totally ignorant of his 
private life and affairs. Considering this 
for a moment, he looked up and smiled. 

" I shall be most interested and delighted," 
• — he said — " to make the trial you suggest. 
I am really curious. As for the present 
picture or photograph on my brain, I think 
it will only show you my perplexity as to m\ 
position with the Bishop in my wavering state 
of mind " 



78 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



" Or conscience — " suggested El-Rami — 
" You said it was a matter of conscience." 

"Quite so — quite so! And conscience is 
the most powerful motor of a man's actions 
Mr. — Mr. El-Rami ! It is indeed the voice 
of God !" 

" That depends on what it says, and how 
we hear it — " said El-Rami rather dryly — 
" Now if we are to make this * demonstra- 
tion,' will you put your left hand here, in my 
left hand } So, — your left palm must press 
closely upon my left palm, — yes — that will 
do. Observe the position, please ; — you see 
that my left fingers rest on your left wrist, 
and are therefore directly touching the nerves 
and arteries running through your heart from 
your brain. By this, you are, to use my 
former simile, pressing me, the sensitive 
paper, to your photographic negative — and I 
make no doubt we shall get a fair impression. 
But to prevent any interruption to the brain- 
wave rushing from you to me, we will add 
this little trifle," and he dexterously slipped 
a steel band over his hand and that of his 
visitor as they rested thus together on the 
table, and snapt it to, — "a sort of handcuff, 



THE SOUL OF LI LITE 79 



as you perceive. It has nothing in the world 
to do with our experiment. It is simply- 
placed there to prevent your moving your 
hand away from mine, which would be your 
natural impulse if I should happen to say 
anything disagreeably true. And to do so, 
would of course cut the ethereal thread of 
contact between us. Now, are you ready }'' 

The clergyman grew a shade paler. El- 
Rimi seemed so very sure of the result of 
this singular trial, that it was a little bit dis- 
agreeable. But having consented to the 
experiment, he felt he was compelled to go 
through with it, so he bowed a nervous 
assent. Whereupon El - Rami closed his 
brilliant eyes, and sat for one or two minutes 
silent and immovable. A curious fidgeti- 
ness began to trouble the Reverend Francis 
Anstruther, — he tried to think of something 
ridiculous, something altogether apart from 
himself, but in vain, — his own personality, 
his own life, his own secret aims seemed all 
to weigh upon him like a sudden incubus. 
Presently tingling sensations pricked his arm 
as with burning needles, — the hand that was 
fettered to that of El-Rami felt as hot as 



8o THE SOUL OF LJLITH 

though it were being held to a fire. All at 
once El-Rami spoke in a low tone, without 
opening his eyes — 

" The shadow-impression of a woman. 
Brown-haired, dark-eyed, — of a full, luscious 
beauty, and a violent, unbridled, ill-balanced 
will. Mindless, but physically attractive. 
She dominates your thought." 

A quiver ran through the clergyman's 
frame, — if he could only have snatched away 
his hand he would have done it then. 

" She is not your wife — " went on El- 
Rami — " she is the wife of your wealthiest 
neighbour. You have a wife, — an invalid, — 
you have also eight children, — but these are 
not prominent in the picture at present. 
The woman with the dark eyes and hair is 
the chief figure. Your plans are made for 
her " 

He paused, and again the wretched Mr. 
Anstruther shuddered. 

*' Wait — wait !" exclaimed El-Rami sud- 
denly in a tone of animation — "Now it 
comes clearly. You have decided to lea\e 
the Church, not because you do not believe 
in a future state, — for this you never have 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



believed at any time — but because you wish 
to rid yourself of all moral and religious 
responsibility. Your scheme is perfectly 
distinct. You will make out a ' case of 
conscience ' to your authorities, and resign 
your living, — you will then desert your wife 
and children, — you will leave your country in 
the company of the woman whose secret 
lover you are " 

"Stop!" cried the Reverend Mr. Anstruther, 
savagely endeavouring to wrench away his 
hand from the binding fetter which held it 
remorselessly to the hand of El - Rami — 
" Stop ! You are telling me a pack of lies !" 

El-Rami opened his great flashing orbs 
and surveyed him first in surprise, then with 
a deep unutterable contempt. Unclasping 
the steel band that bound their two hands 
together, he flung it by, and rose to his feet. 

" Lies .'^" he echoed indignantly. "Your 
whole life Is a lie, and both Nature and 
Science are bound to give the reflex of it. 
What ! would you play a double part with 
the Eternal Forces and think to succeed in 
such desperate fooling ? Do you imagine 
you can deceive supreme Omniscience, which 

VOL. I. 6 



82 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

holds every star and every infinitesimal atom 
of life in a network of such instant vibrating 
consciousness and contact, that in terrible 
truth there are and can be ' no secrets hid ' ? 
You may if you like act out the wretched 
comedy of feigning to deceive your God — 
the God of the Churches, — but beware of 
trifling with the 7^eal God, — the absolute 
Ego Sum of the Universe." 

His voice rang out passionately upon the 
stillness, — the clergyman had also risen from 
his chair, and stood, nervously fumbling with 
his gloves, not venturing to raise his eyes. 

" I have told you the truth of yourself," 
— continued El- Rami more quietly — "You 
know I have. Why then do you accuse me 
of telling you lies } Why did you seek me 
out at all if you wished to conceal yourself 
and your intentions from me 1 Can you deny 
the testimony of your own brain reflected on 
mine ? Come, confess ! be honest for once, — 
do you deny it .^" 

" I deny everything ;" — replied the clergy- 
man, — but his accents were husky and 
indistinct. 

"So be it!"--and El-Rami gave a short 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 83 

laugh of scorn. '' Your * case of conscience ' 
is evidently very pressing ! Go to your 
Bishop — and tell him you cannot believe in 
a future state, — I certainly cannot help you 
to prove ^/la^ mystery. Besides, you would 
rather there were no future state, — a ' some- 
thing after death ' must needs be an un- 
pleasant point of meditation for such as you. 
Oh yes ! — you will get your freedom ; — you 
will get all you are scheming for, and you 
will be quite a notorious person for awhile 
on account of the delicacy of your sense of 
honour and the rectitude of your principles. 
Exactly ! — and then your final co^p, — your 
running away with your neighbour's wife will 
make you notorious again — in quite another 
sort of fashion. Ah ! — every man is bound 
to weave the threads of his own destiny, and 
you are weaving yours ; — do not be surprised 
if you find you have made of them a net 
wherein to become hopelessly caught, tied 
and strangled. It is no doubt unpleasant 
for you to hear these things, — what a pity 
you came to me !" 

The Reverend Francis Anstruther buttoned 
his glove carefully. 



84 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

'* Oh, I do not regret it," he said. "Any 
other man might perhaps feel himself in- 
sulted, but " 

''But you are too much of a 'Christian' 
to take offence — yes, I dare say !" interposed 
El-Rami satirically, — " I thank you for your 
amiable forbearance ! Allow me to close this 
interview " — and he was about to ring the 
bell, when his visitor said hastily and with 
an effort at appearing unconcerned — 

" I suppose I may rely on your secrecy 
respecting what has passed ?" 

" Secrecy ?" and El-Rami raised his black 

eyebrows disdainfully " What you call 

secrecy I know not. But if you mean that 
I shall speak of you and your affairs, — why, 
make yourself quite easy on that score. I 
shall not even think of you after you have 
left this room. Do not attach too much 
importance to yourself, reverend sir, — true, 
your name will soon be mentioned in the 
newspapers, but this should not excite you 
to an undue vanity. As for me, I have other 
things to occupy me, and clerical ' cases of 
conscience ' such as yours, fail to attract either 
my wonder or admiration !" Here he touched 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 85 



the bell. — '' Feraz !" this, as his young brother 
instantly appeared — " The door !" 

The Reverend Francis Anstruther took 
up his hat, looked into it, glanced nervously 
round at the picturesque form of the silent 
Feraz, then with a sudden access of courage, 
looked at El-Rami. That handsome Oriental's 
fiery eyes were fixed upon him, — the superb 
head, the dignified figure, the stately manner, 
all combined to make him feel uncomfortable 
and awkward ; but he forced a faint smile — it 
was evident he must say something. 

" You are a very remarkable man, Mr. . . . 
El-Rami " — he stammered. ... ''It has been 
a most interesting . . . and . . . instructive 
morning !" 

El-Rami made no response other than a 
slight frigid bow. 

The clergyman again peered into the 
depths of his hat. 

'* I will not go so far as to say you were 
correct in anything you said " — he went on — 
"but there was a little truth in some of your 
allusions, — they really applied, or might be 
made to apply to past events, — by-gone 
circumstances . . . you understand } . . 



86 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

El-Rami took one step towards him. 

*' No more lies in Heaven's name !" he 
said in a stern whisper. " The air is poisoned 
enough for to-day. Go !" 

Such a terrible earnestness marked his 
face and voice that the Reverend Francis 
retreated abruptly in alarm, and stumbling 
out of the room hastily, soon found himself 
in the open street with the great oaken door 
of El-Rami's house shut upon him. He 
paused a moment, glanced at the sky, then 
at the pavement, shook his head, drew a 
long breath, and seemed on the verge of 
hesitation ; then he looked at his watch, — 
smiled a bland smile, and hailing a cab, was 
driven to lunch at the Criterion, where a 
handsome woman with dark hair and eyes, 
met him with mingled flattery and upbraid- 
ing, and gave herself pouting and capricious 
airs of offence, because he had kept her 
ten minutes waiting. 




CHAPTER VII. 



That afternoon El- Rami prepared to go out 
as was his usual custom, immediately after 
the mid-day meal, which was served to him 
by Feraz, who stood behind his chair like 
a slave all the time he ate and drank, attend- 
ing to his needs with the utmost devotion 
and assiduity. Feraz indeed was his brother s 
only domestic, — Zaroba's duties being entirely 
confined to the mysterious apartments up- 
stairs and their still more mysterious oc- 
cupant. El-Rami was in a taciturn mood, — 
the visit of the Reverend Francis Anstruther 
seemed to have put him out, and he scarcely 
spoke, save in monosyllables. Before leaving 
the house, however, his humour suddenly 
softened, and noting the wistful and timorous 
gaze with which Feraz regarded him, he 
laughed outright. 



88 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

*' You are very patient with me, Feraz !" he 
said — "And I know I am as sullen as a 
bear." 

'' You think too much ;" — replied Feraz 
gently — "And you work too hard." 

" Both thought and labour are neces- 
sary, " said El-Rami — "You would not 
have me live a life of merely bovine 
repose ?" 

Feraz gave a deprecating gesture. 

"Nay — but surely rest is needful. To 
be happy, God Himself must sometimes 
sleep." 

" You think so ?'' and El-Rami smiled — 
" Then it must be during His hours of repose 
and oblivion that the business of life goes 
wrong, and Darkness and the Spirit of 
Confusion walk abroad. The Creator should 
never sleep." 

"Why not, if He has dreams?" asked 
Feraz — " For if Eternal Thought becomes 
Substance, so a God's Dream may become 
Life." 

" Poetic as usual, my Feraz " — replied his 
brother — "and yet perhaps you are not so 
far wrong in your ideas. That Thought 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 89 

becomes Substance, even with man's limited 
powers, is true enough ; — the thought of a 
perfect, form grows up embodied in the 
weight and Substance of marble, with the 
sculptor, — the vague fancies of a poet, being 
set in ink on paper, become Substance in 
book-shape, solid enough to pass from one 
hand to the other ; — even so may a God's 
mere Thought of a world create a Planet. 
It is my own Impression that thoughts, like 
atoms, are Imperishable, and that even 
dreams, being forms of thought, never die. 
But I must not stay here talking, — adieu ! 
Do not sit up for me to-night — I shall not 
return, — I am going down to the coast." 

"To llfracombe?" questioned Feraz — 
" So long a journey, and all to see that poor 
mad soul T' 

El- Rami looked at him stedfastly. 

•* No more 'mad,' Feraz, than you are 
with your notions about your native star ! 
Why should a scientist who amuses himself 
with the reflections on a Disc of magnetic 
crystal be deemed * mad ' } Fifty years ago 
the electric inventions of Edison would have 
been called * impossible,' — and he, the in- 



90 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

ventor, considered hopelessly Insane. But 
now we know these seeming ' miracles ' are 
facts, we cease to wonder at them. And 
my poor friend with his Disc is a harmless 
creature; — his 'craze,' if it be a craze, is as 
innocent as yours." 

"But I have no craze" — said Feraz com- 
posedly, — ''all that I know and see, lives in 
my brain like music,^ — and though I remem- 
ber It ^ perfectly, I trouble no one with the 
story of my past." 

"And he troubles no one with what he 
deems may be the story of the future " — said 
El- Rami — "Call no one * mad ' because he 
happens to have a new Idea — for time may 
prove such ' madness ' a merely perfected 
method of reason. I must hasten, or I shall 
lose my train." 

" If it is the 2.40 from Waterloo, you have 
time," said Feraz — " It Is not yet two 
o'clock. Do you leave any message for 
Zaroba T' 

" None. She has my orders." 

Feraz looked full at his brother, and a 
warm flush coloured his handsome face. 

"Shall I never be worthy of your con- 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 91 

fidence ?" he asked in a low voice — '* Can you 
never trust vie with your great secret, as well 
as Zaroba ?" 

El-Rami frowned darkly. 

"Again, this vulgar vice of curiosity? I 
thought you were exempt from it by this 
time." 

'' Nay, but hear me, El-Rami " — said Feraz 
eagerly, distressed at the anger in his 
brother's eyes — '' It is not curiosity, — it *is 
something else,^ — something that I can hardly 
explain, except. . . . Oh, you will only laugh 
at me if I tell you . . . but yet " 

" But what ?" demanded El-Rami sternly. 

*' It is as if a voice called me," — answered 
Feraz dreamily — ''a voice from those upper 
chambers, which you keep closed, and of 
which only Zaroba has the care — a voice 
that asks for freedom and for peace. It is 
such a sorrowful voice, — but sweet, — more 
sweet than any singing. True, I hear it but 
seldom, — only when I do, it haunts me for 
hours and hours. I know you are at some 
great work up there, — but can you make 
such voices ring from a merely scientific 
laboratory ? Now you are angered !" 



92 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

His large soft brilliant eyes rested appeal- 
ingly upon his brother, whose features had 
grown pale and rigid. 

''Angered!" he echoed, speaking as it 
seemed with some effort, — " Am I ever 
angered at your — your fancies ? For fancies 
they are, Feraz, — the voice you hear is like 
the imagined home in that distant star you 
speak of, — an image and an echo on your 
brain — no more. My 'great work,' as you 
call it, would have no interest for you ; — it is 
nothing but a test-experiment, which, if it 
fails, then I fail with it, and am no more 
El-Rami-Zaranos, but the merest fool that 
ever clamoured for the moon." He said this 
more to himself than to his brother, and 
seemed for the moment to have forgotten 
where he was, — till suddenly rousing himself 
with a start, he forced a smile. 

"Farewell for the present, gentle visionary!" 
he said kindly, — " You are happier with your 
dreams than I with my facts, — do not seek 
out sorrow for yourself by rash and idle 
questioning." 

With a parting nod he went out, and 
F6raz, closing the door after him, remained 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 93 

in the hall for a few moments in a sort of 
vague reverie. How silent the house seemed, 
he thought with a half- sigh. The very 
atmosphere of it was depressing, and even 
his favourite occupation, music, had just now 
no attraction for him. He turned listlessly 
into his brother's study, — he determined to 
read for an hour or so, and looked about in 
search of some entertaining volume. On 
the table he found a book open, — a manu- 
script, written on vellum in Arabic, with 
curious uncanny figures and allegorical designs 
on the headings and margins. El- Rami had 
left it there by mistake, — it was a particularly 
valuable treasure which he generally kept 
under lock and key. F^raz sat down in front 
of it, and resting his head on his two hands, 
began to read at the page where it lay open. 
Arabic was his native tongue, — yet he had 
some difficulty in making out this especial 
specimen of the language, because the writing 
was anything but distinct, and some of the 
letters had a very odd way of vanishing 
before his eyes, just as he had fixed them on 
a word. This was puzzling as well as irritating, 
— he must have something the matter with 



94 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

his sight or his brain, he concluded, as these 
vanishing letters always came into position 
again after a little. Worried by the pheno- 
menon, he seized the book and carried it to 
the full light of the open window, and there 
succeeded in making out the meaning of one 
passage which was quite sufficient to set him 
thinking. It ran as follows : 

^ '* Wherefore, touching illusions and im- 
pressions, as also strong emotions of love, 
hatred, jealousy or revenge, these nerve and 
brain sensations are easily conveyed from 
one human subject to another by Suggestion. 
The first process is to numb the optic nerve. 
This is done in two ways — I. By causing 
the subject to fix his eyes steadily on a 
round shining case containing a magnet, 
while you shall count two hundred beats of 
time. II. By wilfully making your own eyes 
the magnet, and fixing your subject thereto. 
Either of these operations will temporarily 
paralyze the optic nerves, and arrest the 
motion of the blood in the vessels pertain- 
ing. Thus the brain becomes insensible to 

* From " The Natural Law of Miracles," written in Arabic 
400 B.C. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 95 

external impressions, and is only awake to 
internal suggestions, which you may make 
as many and as devious as you please. Your 
subject will see exactly what you choose him 
to see, hear what you wish him to hear, do 
what you bid him do, so long as you hold 
him by your power, which if you understand 
the laws of light, sound, and air-vibrations, 
you may be able to retain for an indefinite 
period. The same force applies to the 
magnetising of a multitude as of a single 
individual." 

Feraz read this over and over again, — 
then returning to the table, laid the book 
upon it with a deeply engrossed air. It had 
given him unpleasant matter for reflection. 

''A dreamer — a visionary, he calls me — " 
he mused, his thoughts reverting to his 
absent brother — " Full of fancies poetic and 
musical, — now can it be that I owe my very 
dreams to his dominance ? Does he ma^e 
me subservient to him, as I am, or is my 
submission to his will, my own desire ? Is 
my ' madness ' or ' craze,' or whatever he 
calls it, of h's working ? and should I be 
more like other men if I were separated 



96 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

from him ? And yet what has he ever done 
to me, save make me happy ? Has he 
placed me under the influence of any magnet 
such as this book describes ? Certainly not 
that I am aware of He has made my 
inward spirit clearer of comprehension, so 
that I hear him call me even by a thought, 
— I see and know beautiful things of which 
grosser souls have no perception, — and am I 
not content ? — Yes, surely I am ! — surely I 
should be, — though at times there seems a 
something missing, — a something to which I 
cannot give a name." 

He sighed, — and again buried his head 
between his hands, — he was conscious of a 
dreary sensation, unusual to his bright and 
fervid nature, — the very sunshine streaming 
through the window seemed to lack true 
brilliancy. Suddenly a hand was laid upon 
his shoulder, — he started and rose to his feet 
with a bewildered air, — then smiled, as he 
saw that the intruder was only Zaroba. 




CHAPTER VIII. 

Only Zaroba, — gaunt, grim, fierce - eyed 
Zaroba, old and unlovely, yet possessing 
withal an air of savage dignity, as she 
stood erect, her amber-coloured robe bound 
about her with a scarlet girdle, and her gray 
hair gathered closely under a small coif of thtt 
same vivid hue. Her wrinkled visage had 
more animation in it than on the previous 
night, and her harsh voice grew soft as she 
looked at the picturesque glowing beauty of 
the young man beside her, and addressed 
him. 

" El-Rami has gone ?" she asked. 

F6raz nodded. He generally made her 
understand him either by signs, or the use 
of the finger-alphabet, at which he was very 
dexterous. 

VOL. I. 7 



98 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

*'On what quest?" she demanded. 

Feraz explained rapidly and mutely that 
he had gone to visit a friend residinpf at a 
distance from town. 

" Then he will not return to-night ;"- — 
muttered Zaroba thoughtfully — " He will 
not return to-night." 

She sat down, and clasping her hands 
across her knees, rocked herself to and fro 
for some minutes in silence. Then she 
spoke, more to herself than to her listener. 

** He is an angel or a fiend," she said in 
low meditative accents. " Or maybe he is 
both in one. He saved me from death 
once — I shall never forget that. And by 
his power he sent me back to my native 
land last night — I bound my black tresses 
with pearl and gold, and laughed and sang, — 
I was young again ! ' — and with a sudden cr)^ 
she raised her hands above her head and 
clapped them fiercely together, so that the 
silver bangles on her arms jangled like bells ; 
— " As God liveth, I was young ! Yoit 
know what it is to be young " — and she 
turned her dark orbs half enviously upon 
F^raz, who, leanin^y acrainst his brother's 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 99 

writing-table, regarded her with interest and 
something of awe — *' or you should know it ! 
To feel the blood leap in the veins, while the 
happy heart keeps time like the beat of a 
joyous cymbal, — to catch the breath and 
tremble with ecstasy as the eyes one loves 
best in the world flash lightning-passion into 
your own, — to make companions of the 
roses, and feel the pulses quicken at the 
songs of birds, — to tread the ground so 
lightly as to scarcely know whether it is 
earth or air — this is to be young! — young! — 
and I was young last night. My love was 
with me, — my love, my more than lover — 
* Zaroba, beautiful Zaroba !' he said, and his 
kisses were as honey on my lips — * Zaroba, 
pearl of passion ! fountain of sweetness in a 
desert land ! — thine eyes are fire in which I 
burn my soul, — thy round arms the prison in 
which I lock my heart ! Zaroba, beautiful 
Zaroba !' — Beautiful ! Ay ! — through the 
power of El- Rami I was fair to see — last 
night ! . . . only last night !" 

Her voice sank down into a feeble wailing, 
and Feraz gazed at her compassionately and 
in a little wonder, — he was accustomed to 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



see her in various strange and incompre- 
hensible moods, but she was seldom so 
excited as now. 

*' Why do you not laugh ?" she asked 
suddenly and with a touch of defiance — 
*' Why do you not laugh at me? — at me, 
the wretched Zaroba, — old and unsightly — 
bent and wrinkled ! — that I should dare to 
say I was once beautiful ! — It is a thing to 
make sport of — an old forsaken woman's 
dream of her dead youth." 

With an impulsive movement that was as 
graceful as it was becoming, Feraz, for sole 
reply, dropped on one knee beside her, and 
taking her wrinkled hand, touched it lightly 
but reverently with his lips. She trembled, 
and great tears rose in her eyes. 

'' Poor boy !" she muttered — " Poor child ! 
— a child to me, and yet a man ! As God 
liveth, a man !" She looked at him with a 
curious stedfastness. " Good Feraz, forgive 
me — I did you wrong — I know you would 
not mock the aged, or make wanton sport of 
their incurable woes, — you are too gentle. I 
would in truth you were less mild of spirit — 
less womanish of heart !" 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



** Womanish !" and F6raz leaped up, stung 
by the word, he knew not why. His heart 
beat strangely — his blood tingled, — it seemed 
to him that if he had possessed a weapon, his 
instinct would have been to draw it then. 
Never had he looked so handsome ; and 
Zaroba, watching his expression, clapped her 
withered hands in a sort of witch-like triumph. 

"Ha!" — she cried — "The man's mettle 
speaks ! There is something more than the 
dreamer in you then — something that will 
help you to explain the mystery of your 
existence — something that says — ' F^raz, you 
are the slave of destiny — up ! be its master ! 
F6raz, you sleep — awake !'" and Zaroba stood 
up tall and imposing, with the air of an in- 
spired sorceress delivering a prophecy — 
" F^raz, you have manhood — prove it ! 
F^raz, you have missed the one joy of life — 
LOVE !— Win it !" 

F^raz stared at her amazed. Her words 
were such as she had never addressed to 
him before, and yet they moved him with a 
singular uneasiness. Love ? Surely he knew 
the meaning of love ? It was an ideal passion, 
like the lifting-up of life in prayer. Had not 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



his brother told him that perfect love was 
unattainable on this planet ? — and was It not 
a word the very suggestions of which could 
only be expressed in music ? These thoughts 
ran through his mind while he stood Inert 
and wondering, — then rousing himself a little 
from the effects of Zaroba's outburst, he sat 
down at the table, and taking up a pencil, 
wrote as follows — 

" You talk wildly, Zaroba — you cannot be 
well. Let me hear no more — you disturb 
my peace. I know what love is — I know 
what life is. But the best part of my life 
and love is not here, — but elsewhere." 

Zaroba took the paper from his hand, read 
it, and tore it to bits in a rage. 

'' O foolish youth !" she exclaimed — '' Your 
love Is the love of a Dream, — your life Is the 
life of a Dream ! You see with another's 
eyes — you think through another's brain. 
You are a mere machine, played upon by 
another's will ! But not forever shall you be 
deceived — not forever, — " here she gave a 
slight start and looked around her nervously 
as though she expected someone to enter the 
room suddenly — " Listen ! Come to me to- 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 105 

night, — to-night when all is dark and silent, 
— ^when every sound in the outside street is 
stilled, — come to me — and I will show you a 
marvel of the world !— one who, like you, is 
the victim of a Dream !" She broke off 
abruptly and glanced from right to left in 
evident alarm, — then with a fresh impetus of 
courage, she bent towards her companion 
again and whispered in his ear — " Come !" 

" But where ?" asked Feraz in the language 
of signs. 

" Up yonder!" said Zaroba firmly, regard- 
less of the utter amazement with which 
F^raz greeted this answer — *' Up, where El- 
Rami hides his great secret. Yes — I know 
he has forbidden you to venture there, — even 
so has he forbidden me to speak of what 
he cherishes so closely, — but are we slaves, 
you and I ? Do you purpose always to obey 
him ? So be it, an you will ! But if I were 
you,- a man — I would defy both gods and 
fiends if they opposed my liberty of action. 
Do as it pleases you, — I, Zaroba, have given 
you the choice, — stay and dream of life — or 
come and live it ! Till to-night — farewell !" 

She had reached the door and vanished 



I04 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



through it, before Feraz could demand more 
of her meaning, — and he was left alone, a 
prey to the most torturing emotions. '* The 
vulgar vice of curiosity !" That was the 
phrase his brother had used to him scarcely 
an hour agone, — and yet, here he was, yield- 
ing to a fresh fit of the intolerable desire that 
had possessed him for years to know El- 
Rami's great secret. He dropped wearily 
into a chair and thought all the circumstances 
over. They were as follows,— 

In the first place he had never known any 
other protector or friend than his brother, 
who, being several years older than himself, 
had taken sole charge of him after the almost 
simultaneous death of their father and mother, 
an event which he knew had occurred some- 
where in the East, but how or when, he could 
not exactly remember, nor had he ever been 
told much about it. He had always been 
very happy in El-Rami's companionship, and 
had travelled with him nearly all over the 
world, — and though they had never been 
rich, they had always had sufficient where- 
with to live comfortably, though how even 
this small competence was gained, F6raz 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 105 



never knew. There had been no particular 
mystery about his brother's life, however, till 
on one occasion, when they were travelling 
together across the Syrian desert, where they 
had come upon a caravan of half-starved 
Arab wanderers in dire distress from want 
and sickness. Among them was an elderly 
woman at the extreme point of death, and 
an orphan child named Lilith, who was also 
dying. El- Rami had suddenly, for no special 
reason, save kindness of heart and compas- 
sion, offered his services as physician to the 
stricken little party, and had restored the 
elderly woman, a widow, almost miraculously 
to health and strength in a day or two. This 
woman was no other than Zaroba. The sick 
child however, a girl of about twelve years 
old, died. And here began the puzzle. On 
the day of this girl's death, El-Rami, with 
sudden and inexplicable haste, had sent his 
young brother on to Alexandria, bidding him 
there take ship immediately for the Island of 
Cyprus, and carry to a certain monastery 
some miles from Famagousta, a packet of 
documents, which he stated were of the most 
extraordinary value and importance. F'^raz 



io6 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

had obeyed, and according to further instruc- 
tions, had remained as a visitor in that 
Cyprian religious retreat, among monks un- 
like any other monks he had ever seen or 
heard of, till he was sent for, whereupon, 
according to command, he rejoined El- Rami 
in London. He found him, somewhat to his 
surprise, installed in the small house where 
they now w^ere, — with the woman Zaroba, 
whose presence was another cause of blank 
astonishment, especially as she seemed to 
have nothing to do but keep certain rooms 
upstairs in order. But all the questions 
Feraz poured out respecting her, and every- 
thing that had happened since their parting 
in the Syrian desert, were met by equivocal 
replies or absolute silence on his brother's 
part, and by-and-bye the young man grew 
accustomed to his position. Day by day he 
became more and more subservient to El- 
Rami's will, though he could never quite 
comprehend why he was so willingly sub- 
missive. Of course he knew that his brother 
was gifted with certain powers of physical 
magnetism, — because he had allowed himself 
to be practised upon, and he took a certain 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 107 

interest in the scientific development of those 
powers, this being, as he quite comprehended, 
one of the branches of study on which El- 
Rami was engaged. He knew that his 
brother could compel response to thought 
from a distance, — but, as there were others 
of his race who could do the same thing, 
and as that sort of mild hypnotism was 
largely practised in the East, where he was 
born, he attached no special importance to it. 
Endowed with various gifts of genius such 
as music and poetry, and a quick perception 
of everything beautiful and artistic, Feraz 
lived in a tranquil little Eden of his own, — 
and the only serpent in it that now and then 
lifted its head to hiss doubt and perplexity 
was the inexplicable mystery of those upstair 
rooms over which Zaroba had guardianship. 
The merest allusion to the subject excited 
El-Raml's displeasure ; and during the whole 
time they had lived together In that house, 
now nearly six years, he had not dared to 
speak of it more than a very few times, 
while Zaroba, on her part, had faithfully 
preserved the utmost secrecy. Now, she 
seemed disposed to break the long - kept 



io8 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

rules, — and F6raz knew not what to think 
of it. 

'* Is everything destiny, as El-Rami says ?" 
he mused — ** Or shall I follow my own 
desires in the face of destiny ? Shall I yield 
to temptation — or shall I overcome it? Shall 
I break his command, — lose his affection and 
be a free man, — or shall I obey him still, and 
be his slave ? And what should I do with 
my liberty if I had it, I wonder ? Womanish ! 
What a word ! Am \ womanish ?" He paced 
up and down the room in sudden irritation 
and haughtiness ; — the piano stood open, but 
its ivory keys failed to attract him, — his brain 
was full of other suggestions than the making 
of sweet harmony. 

" Do not seek out sorrow for yourself by 
rash and idle questioning." 

So his brother had said at parting. And 
the words rang in his ears as he walked to 
and fro restlessly, thinking, wondering, and 
worrying his mind with vague wishes and 
foreboding anxieties, till the shining afternoon 
wore away and darkness fell. 




CHAPTER IX. 



A ROUGH night at sea, — but the skies were 
clear, and the great worlds of God which 
we call stars, throbbed in the heavens like 
lustrous lamps, all the more brilliantly for 
there being no moon to eclipse their glory. 
A high gale was blowing, and the waves 
dashed up on the coast of Ilfracombe with 
an organ-like thud and roar as they broke 
in high jets of spray, and then ran swiftly 
back again with a soft swish and ripple 
suggestive of the downward chromatic scale 
played rapidly on well - attuned strings. 
There was freshness and life in the dancing 
wind ; — the world seemed well in motion ; — 
and, standing aloft among the rocks, and 
looking down at the tossing sea, one could 
realize completely the continuous whirl of the 



lo THE SOUL OF LILITH 



globe beneath one's feet, and the perpetual 
movement of the planet -studded heavens. 
High above the shore, on a bare jutting 
promontory, a solitary house faced seaward ; — 
it was squarely built and surmounted with 
a tower, wherein one light burned fitfully, 
its pale sparkle seeming to quiver with fear 
as the wild wind fled past joyously, with a 
swirl and cry like some huge sea-bird on the 
wing. It looked a dismal residence at its 
best, even when the sun was shining, — but 
at night its aspect was infinitely more dreary. 
It was an old house, and it enjoyed the 
reputation of being haunted, — a circumstance 
which had enabled its present owner to pur- 
chase the lease of it for a very moderate sum. 
He it was who had built the tower, and 
whether because of this piece of extravagance 
or for other unexplained reasons, he had won 
for himself personally, almost as uncanny 
a reputation as the house had possessed 
before he occupied it. A man who lived 
the life of a recluse, — who seemed to have 
no relations with the outside world at all, — 
who had only one servant, (a young German 
whom the shrewder gossips declared was his 



THE SOUL OF LILITH m 

"keeper") — who lived on such simple fare 
as certainly would never have contented a 
modern Hodge earning twelve shillings a 
week, and who seemed to purchase nothing 
but strange astronomical and geometrical 
instruments, — surely such a queer personage 
must either be mad, or in league with some 
evil ''secret society," — the more especially 
that he had had that tower erected, into 
which, after it was finished, no one but him- 
self ever entered so far as the people of the 
neighbourhood could tell. Under all these 
suspicious circumstances, it was natural he 
should be avoided ; and avoided he was by 
the good folk of Ilfracombe, in that pleasantly 
diverting fashion which causes provincial 
respectability to shudder away from the 
merest suggestion of superior intelligence. 

And yet poor old Dr. Kremlin was a being 
not altogether to be despised. His appear- 
ance was perhaps against him, inasmuch as 
his clothes were shabby, and his eyes rather 
wild, — but the expression of his meagre face 
was kind and gentle, and a perpetual com- 
passion for everything and everybody, seemed 
to vibrate In his voice and reflect Itself in his 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



melancholy smile. He was deeply occupied 
— so he told a few friends in Russia, where 
he was born, — in serious scientific investiga- 
tions, — but the "friends," deeming him mad, 
held aloof till those investigations should 
become results. If the results proved dis- 
appointing, there would be no need to notice 
him any more, — if successful, why then, by 
a mystic process known only to themselves, 
the ''friends" would so increase and multiply 
that he would be quite inconveniently sur- 
rounded by them. In the meantime, nobody 
wrote to him, or came to see him, except 
El-Rami ; and it was El-Rami now, who, 
towards ten o'clock in the evening, knocked 
at the door of his lonely habitation and was 
at once admitted with every sign of deference 
and pleasure by the servant Karl. 

" I'm glad you've come, sir," — said this 
individual cheerfully, — "The Herr Doctor 
has not been out all day, and he eats less 
than ever. It will do him good to see 
you. 

•* He is in the tower as usual, at work ?" 
enquired El-Rami, throwing off his coat. 

Karl assented, with rather a doleful look, — 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



and opening the door of a small dining-room, 
showed the supper-table laid for two. 

El-Rami smiled. 

"It's no good, Karl!" he said kindly — 
*' It's very well meant on your part, but it's 
no good at all. You will never persuade 
your master to eat at this time of night, or 
me either. Clear all these things away, — 
and make your mind easy, — go to bed and 
sleep. To-morrow morning prepare as ex- 
cellent a breakfast as you please — I promise 
you we'll do justice to it! Don't look so 
discontented — don't you know that over-feed- 
ing kills the working capacity ?" 

" And over-starving kills the man, — work- 
ing-capacity and all " — responded Karl lugu- 
briously — " However, I suppose you know 
best, sir!" 

"In this case I do" — replied El-Rami — 
" Your master expects me ?" 

Karl nodded, — and El-Rami, with a brief 
"good- night," ascended the staircase rapidly 
and soon disappeared. A door banged aloft 
— then all was still. Karl sighed profoundly, 
and slowly cleared away the useless supper. 

" Well I How wise men can bear to 

VOL. I. 8 



114 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



Starve themselves just for the sake of teach- 
ing fools, is more than I shall ever under- 
stand !" he said half aloud — '' But then I shall 
never be wise— I am an ass and always was. 
A good dinner and a glass of good wine 
have always seemed to me better than all 
the science going, — there's a shameful con- 
fession of ignorance and brutality together, if 
you like. ' Where do you think you will go 
to when you die, Karl ?' says the poor old 
Herr Doctor. And what do / say ? I say 
— ' I don't know, 77zem Herr — and I don't 
care. This world is good enough for me 
so long as I live in it.' ' But afterwards 
Karl, — afterwards!' he says, with his gray 
head shaking. And what do / say ? Why, 
I say — ' I can't tell, vtein Herr ! but who- 
ever sent me Here will surely have sense 
enough to look after me There !' And he 
laughs, and his head shakes worse than ever. 
Ah ! Nothing can ever make me clever, and 
I'm very glad of it !" 

He whistled a lively tune softly, as he 
went to bed in his little side-room off the 
passage, and wondered again, as he had 
wondered hundreds of times before, what 



( 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



caused that solemn low humming noise that 
throbbed so incessantly through the house, 
and seemed so loud when everything else 
was still. It was a grave sound, — suggestive 
of a long-sustained organ-note held by the 
pedal-bass ; — the murmuring of seas and 
rivers seemed in it, as well as the rush of the 
wind. Karl had grown accustomed to it, 
though he did not know what it meant, — and 
he listened to it, till drowsiness made him 
fancy it was the hum of his mother's spinning 
wheel, at home in his native German village 
among the pine-forests, and so he fell happily 
asleep. 

Meanwhile El - Rami, ascending to the 
tower, knocked sharply at a small nail- 
studded door in the wall. The mysterious 
murmuring noise was now louder than ever, — 
and the knock had to be repeated three or 
four times before it was attended to. Then 
the door was cautiously opened, and the 
" Herr Doctor" himself looked out, his 
wizened, aged, meditative face illumined like 
a Rembrandt picture by the small hand-lamp 
he held in his hand. 

"Ah! — El- Rami!" he said in slow yet 



ii6 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

pleased tones — *' I thought it might be you. 
And like ' Bernardo ' — you ' come most care- 
fully upon your hour.' " 

He smiled, as one well satisfied to have 
made an apt quotation, and opened the door 
more widely to admit his visitor. 

" Come in quickly," — he said — " The great 
window is open to the skies, and the wind is 
high, — I fear some damage from the draught, 
— come in — come in !" 

His voice became suddenly testy and 
querulous, — and El-Rami stepped in at once 
without reply. Dr. Kremlin shut to the 
door carefully and bolted it — then he turned 
the light of the lamp he carried, full on the 
dark handsome face and dignified figure of 
his companion. 

**You are looking well — well," — he 
muttered — '* Not a shade older — always 
sound and strong! Just Heavens! — if I had 
your physique, I think with Archimedes, that 
I could lift the world ! But I am getting 
very old, — the life in me is ebbing fast, — and 
I have not done my work — . . . . God ! . . . 
God ! I have not done my work !" 

He clenched his hands, and his voice 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 117 



quavered clown into a sound that was almost 
a groan. El -Rami's black beaming eyes 
rested on him compassionately. 

'* You are worn out, my dear Kremlin," — 
he said gently — '* worn out and exhausted 
with long toil. You shall sleep to-night. I 
have come according to my promise, and I 
will do what I can for you. Trust me — you 
shall not lose the reward of your life's work 
by want of time. You shall have time, — 
even leisure to complete your labours, — I will 
give you ' length of days ' !" 

The elder man sank into a chair trembling, 
and rested his head wearily on one hand. 

*' You cannot ;" — he said faintly — " you 
cannot stop the advance of death, my friend ! 
You are a very clever man — you have a far- 
reaching subtlety of brain, — but your learn- 
ing and wisdom must pause ^/^ere — there at 
the boundary-line of the grave. You cannot 
overstep it or penetrate beyond it — you 
cannot slacken the pace of the on-rushing 
years ; — no, no ! I shall be forced to dej^art 
with half my discovery uncompleted." 

El-Rami smiled, — a slightly derisive smile. 

" You, who have faith in so much that 



ii8 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



cannot be proved, are singularly incredulous 
of a fact that can be proved ;" — he said — 
"Anyway, ^yhatever you choose to think, here 
1 am in answer to your rather sudden sum- 
mons — and here is your saving remedy; — " 
and he placed a gold -stoppered flask on 
the table near which they sat — *' It is, or 
might be called, a veritable distilled essence 
of time, — for it will do what they say God 
cannot do, make the days spin backward !" 

Dr. Kremlin took up the flask curiously. 

" You are so positive of its action .^" 

" Positive. I have kept one human 
creature alive and in perfect health for six 
years on that vital fluid alone." 

"Wonderful! — wonderful!" — and the old 
scientist held it close to the light, where it 
seemed to flash like a diamond, — then he 
smiled dubiously — "Am I the new Faust, 
and you Mephisto i^" 

" Bah !" and Ei - Rami shrugged his 
shoulders carelessly — " An old nurse's tale !- — 
yet, like all old nurses' tales and legends of 
every sort under the sun, it is not without 
its grain of truth. As I have often told 
you, there! is really nothing imagined by 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 119 



the human brain that Is not possible of 
realization, either here or hereafter. It 
would be a false note and a useless calcula- 
tion to allow thought to dwell on what 
cannot be, — hence our airiest visions are 
bound to become facts in time. All the 
same, I am not of such superhuman ability 
that I can make you change your skin like 
a serpent, and blossom into youth and the 
common vulgar lusts of life, which to the 
thinker must be valueless. No. What you 
hold there, will simply renew the tissues, and 
gradually enrich the blood with fresh globules 
— nothing more, — but that is all you need. 
Plainly and practically speaking, as long as 
the tissues and the blood continue to renew 
themselves, you cannot die except by 
violence." 

** Cannot die!" echoed Kremlin, in stupefied 
wonder — '' Cannot die ?" 

" Except by violence — " repeated El- Rami 
with emphasis — " Well ! — and what now ? 
There is nothing really astonishing in the 
statement. Death by violence is the only 
death possible to anyone familiar with the 
secrets of Nature, and there is more than 



20 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



one less(;n to be learned from the old story 
of Cain and Abel. The first death in the 
world, according to that legend, was death by 
violence. Without violence, life should be 
immortal, or at least renewable at pleasure." 

" Immortal !" muttered Dr. Kremlin — 
"Immortal! Renewable at pleasure! My 
God ! — then I have time before me — plenty 
of time !" 

" You have, if you care for it — " said El- 
Rami with a tinge of melancholy in his 
accents — ''and if you continue to care for it. 
Few do, nowadays." 

But his companion scarcely heard him. 
He was balancing the little flask in his hand 
in wonderment and awe. 

" Death by violence ?" — he repeated slowly. 
" But, my friend, may not God Himself 
use violence towards us ? May He not 
snatch the unwilling soul from its earthly 
tenement at an unexpected moment, — and 
so. all the scheming and labour and patient 
calculation of years be ended in one flash of 
time ?" 

" God — if there be a God, which some are 
fain to believe there is, — uses no violence — " 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



replied El-Rami — "Deaths by violence are 
due to the ignorance, or brutality, or long- 
inherited fool-hardiness and interference of 
man alone." 

" What of shipwreck ? — storm ? — light- 
ning ?"— queried Dr. Kremlin, still playing 
with the flask he held. 

"You are not going to sea, are you?" 
asked El-Rami, smiling — " And surely you, 
of all men, should know that even shipwrecks 
are due to a lack of mathematical balance in 
ship-building. One little trifle of exactitude, 
which is always missing, unfortunately, — one 
little delicate scientific adjustment, and the 
fiercest storm and wind could not prevail 
against the properly poised vessel. As for 
lightning — of course people are killed by it 
if they persist in maintaining an erect position 
like a lightning-rod or conductor, while the 
electrical currents are in full play. If they 
were to lie flat down, as savages do, they 
could not attract the descending force. But 
who, among arrogant stupid men, cares to 
adopt such simple precautions ? Any way, I 
do not see that you need fear any of these 
disasters." 



22 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



" No no," — said the old man meditatively, 
*' I need not fear, — no, no! I have nothing 
to fear." 

His voice sank into silence. He and El- 
Rami were sitting in a small square chamber 
of the tower, — very narrow, with only space 
enough for the one tiny table and two chairs 
which furnished it, — the walls were covered 
with very curious maps, composed of lines 
and curves and zig-zag patterns, meaningless 
to all except Kremlin himself, whose dreamy 
gaze wandered to them between-whiles with 
an ardent yearning and anxiety. And ever 
that strange deep, monotonous humming 
noise surged through the tower as of a 
mighty wheel at work, the vibration of the 
sound seeming almost to shake the solid 
masonry, while mingling with it now and 
again came the wild sea-bird cry of the wind. 
El-Rami listened. 

*' And still it moves ?'' he queried softly, 
using almost the words of Galileo, — " e pftr 
si muoveT 

Dr. Kremlin looked up, his pale eyes full 
oi a sudden fire and animation. 

" Ay ! — still it moves !" he responded with 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 123 

a touch of eager triumph in his tone — " Still 
it moves — and still it sounds ! The music of 
the Earth, my friend ! — the dominant note of 
all Nature's melody! Hear it! — round, full, 
grand and perfect ! — one tone in the ascend- 
ing scale of the planets, — the song of one 
Star, — our Star^ — as it rolls on its predestined 
way! Come! — come with me!" and he sprang 
up excitedly — '* It is a night for work ; — the 
heavens are clear ss a mirror, — come and see 
my Dial of the Fates, — you have seen it 
before, I know, but there are new reflexes 
upon it now, — new lines of light and colour, 
— ah, my good El- Rami, if you could solve 
my Problem, you would be soon wiser than 
you are ! Your gift of long life would be 
almost valueless compared to my proof of 
what is beyond life " 

" Yes — if the proof could be obtained — " 
interposed El-Rami. 

"It shall be obtained!" cried Kremlin 
wildly — " It shall ! I will not die till the 
secret is won. I will wrench it out from the 
Holy of Holies — I will pluck it from the 
very thoughts of God !" 

He trembled with the violence of his own 



124 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



emotions, — -then passing his hand across his 
forehead, he relapsed into sudden calm, and 
smiling gently, said again — 

"Come!" 

El-Rami rose at once in obedience to this 
request, — and the old man preceded him to 
a high narrow door which looked like a slit 
in the wall, and which he unbarred and 
opened with an almost jealous care. A brisk 
puff of wind blew in their faces through the 
aperture, but this subsided into mere cool 
freshness of air, as they entered and stood 
together within the great central chamber of 
the tower, — a lofty apartment, where the 
strange work of Kremlin's life was displayed 
in all its marvellous complexity, — a work 
such as no human being had ever attempted 
before, or would be likely to attempt again. 




O '^Oi^^ o^Ao'jiot.Q^^^^^i 




CHAPTER X. 



The singular object that at once caught and 
fixed the eye in fascinated amazement and 
something of terror, was a huge Disc, sus- 
pended between ceiling and floor by an 
apparently inextricable mesh and tangle of 
wires. It was made of some smooth glitter- 
ing substance like crystal, and seemed from 
its great height and circumference to occupy 
nearly the whole of the lofty tower-room. 
It appeared to be lightly poised and balanced 
on a long steel rod, — a sort of gigantic needle 
which hung from the very top of the tower. 
The entire surface of the Disc was a sub- 
dued blaze of light, — light which fluctuated 
in waves and lines, and zig-zag patterns like a 
kaleidoscope, as the enormous thing circled 
round and round, as it did, with a sort of 



126 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

measured motion, and a sustained solemn 
buzzing sound. Here was the explanation 
of the mysterious noise that vibrated through- 
out the house, — it was simply the movement 
of this round shield-like mass among its 
wonderful network of rods and wires. 
Dr. Kremlin called it his ''crystal" Disc, — 
but it was utterly unlike ordinary crystal, for 
it not only shone with a transparent watery 
clearness, but possessed the scintillating lustre 
of a fine diamond cut into numerous prisms, 
so that El-Rami shaded his eyes from the 
flash of it as he stood contemplating it in 
silence. It swirled round and round steadily ; 
facing it, a large casement window, about the 
size of half the wall, was thrown open to the 
night, and through this could be seen a 
myriad sparkling stars. The wind blew in, 
but not fiercely now, for part of the wrath 
of the gale was past, — and the wash of the 
sea on the beach below had exactly the same 
tone in it as the monotonous hum of the Disc 
as it moved. At one side of the open window 
a fine telescope mounted on a high stand, 
pointed out towards the heavens, — there 
were numerous other scientific implements 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 127 



in the room, but it was impossible to take 
much notice of anything but the Disc itself, 
with its majestic motion and the solemn 
sound to which it swung. Dr. Kremlin 
.seemed to have almost forgotten El-Rami's 
presence, — going up to the window, he sat 
down on a low bench in the corner, and 
folding his arms across his breast gazed at 
his strange invention with a fixed, wondering, 
and appealing stare. 

" How to unravel the meaning — how 
to decipher the message !" he muttered — 
'* Sphinx of my brain, tell me, is there No 
answer ? Shall the actual offspring of my 
thought refuse to clear up the riddle I pro- 
]:)ound ? Nay, is it possible the creature should 
baffle the creator ? See ! the lines change 
again — the vibrations are altered, — the circle 
is ever the circle, but the reflexes differ, — how 
can one separate or classify them — how ?'' 

Thus far his half- whispered words were 
audible, — when El - Rami came and stood 
beside him. Then he seemed to suddenly 
recollect himself, and looking up, he rose to 
his feet and spoke in a perfectly calm and 
collected manner. 



128 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



" You see " — he said, pointing to the Disc 
with the air of a lecturer illustrating his 
discourse — '* To begin with, there is the 
fine hair's-breadth balance of matter which 
gives perpetual motion. Nothing can stop 
that movement save the destruction of the 
whole piece of mechanism. By some such 
subtly delicate balance as that, the Universe 
moves, — and nothing can stop it save the 
destruction of the Universe. Is not that 
fairly reasoned ?" 

'* Perfectly," replied El - Rami, who was 
listening with profound attention. 

" Surely that of itself, — the secret of per- 
petual motion, — is a great discovery, is it 
not ?" questioned Kremlin eagerly. 

El-Rami hesitated. 

*' It is," he said at last. '' Forgive me if I 
paused a moment before replying, — the reason 
of my doing so was this. You cannot claim 
to yourself any actual discovery of perpetual 
motion, because that is Nature's own par- 
ticular mystery. Perhaps I do not explain 
myself with sufficient clearness, — well, what 
I mean to imply is this — namely, that your 
wonderful dial there would not revolve as it 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



I2i) 



does, if the Earth on which we stand were 
not also revolving. If we could imagine our 
planet stopping suddenly in its course, your 
Disc would stop also, — is not that correct ?" 

" Why, naturally !" assented Kremlin im- 
patiently. '* Its movement is mathematically 
calculated to follow, in a slower degree, but 
with rhythmical exactitude, the Earth's own 
movement, and is so balanced as to be abso- 
lutely accurate to the very half-quarter of a 
hair's-breadth." 

" Yes, — and there is the chief wonder of 
your invention," said El-Rami quietly. ''It 
is that peculiarly precise calculation of yours 
that is so marvellous, in that it enables you 
^0 follow the course of perpetual viotion. 
With perpetual motion itself you have 
nothing to do, — you cannot find its why 
or its when or its how, — it is eternal as 
Eternity. Things must move, — and we all 
move with them — your Disc included." 

" But the moving things are balanced — 
so!" said Kremlin, pointing triumphantly to 
his work — '' On one point — one pivot!" 

*'And that point ?" queried El-R^mi 

dubiously. 

VOL. I. 9 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



" Is a Central Universe " — responded 
Kremlin — "where God abides." 

El-Rami looked at him with dark, dilating, 
burning eyes. 

"Suppose," he said suddenly — "suppose 
— for the sake of argument — that this Central 
Universe you imagine exists, were but the 
outer covering or shell of another Central 
Universe, and so on through innumerable 
Central Universes for ever and ever and 
ever, and no point or pivot reachable !" 

Kremlin uttered a cry, and clasped his 
hands with a gesture of terror. 

" Stop — stop !" he gasped — ■'" Such an idea 
is frightful! — horrible! Would you drive 
me mad ? — mad, I tell you ? No human 
brain could steadily contemplate the thought 
of such pitiless infinity !" 

He sank back on the seat and rocked 
himself to and fro like a person in physical 
pain, the while he stared at El-Rami's 
majestic figure and dark meditative face as 
though he saw some demon in a dream. 
El-Rami met his gaze with a compassionate 
glance in his own eyes. 

" You are narrow, my friend," — he observed 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 131 



— *'as narrow of outward and onward con- 
ception as most scientists are. I grant you 
the human brain has Hmits ; but the human 
Soul has none! There is no 'pitiless in- 
finity ' to the Soul's aspirations, — it is never 
contented, — but eternally ambitious, eternally 
enquiring, eternally young, it is ready to 
scale heights and depths without end, uncon-. 
scious of fatigue or satiety. What of a 
million million Universes ? I — even I — can 
contemplate them without dismay, — the brain, 
may totter and reel at the multiplicity of 
them, — but the Soul would absorb them all 
and yet seek space for more !" 

His rich, deep tranquil voice had the effect 
of calming Kremlin's excited nerves. He 
paused in his uneasy rocking to and fro, and 
listened as though he heard music. 

"You are a bold man, El-Rami," he said 
slowly — " I have always said it, — bold even 
to rashness. Yet with all your large ideas 
1 find you inconsistent ; for example, you , 
talk of the Soul now, as if you believed in 
it, — but there are times when you declare, 
yourself doubtful of its existence." 

" It is necessary to split hairs of argument 



132 THE SOUL OF LI LIT II 



with you, I see" — returned El-RamI with 
a sHght smile, — ''Can you not understand 
that I may believe in the Soul without being 
sure of it ? It is the natural instinct of every 
man to credit himself with immortality, 
because this life is so short and unsatisfactory, 
— the notion may be a fault of heritage 
perhaps, still it is implanted in us all the 
same. And I do believe in the Soul, — but 
I require certainty to make my mere belief 
an undeniable Fact. And the whole busi- 
ness of my life is to establish that fact 
provably, and beyond any sort of doubt 
whatever, — what inconsistency do you find 
there ?" 

** None — none — " said Kremlin hastily — 
"But you will not succeed, — yours is too 
daring an attempt, — too arrogant and 
audacious a demand upon the Unknown 
Forces." 

"And what of the daring and arrogance 
displayed here .'*" asked El- Rami, with a wave 
of his hand towards the glittering Disc in 
front of them. 

Kremlin jumped up excitedly. 

" No, no ! — you cannot call the mere scien- 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 133 

tific investigation of natural objects arrogant," 
he said — *' Besides, the whole thing is so 
very simple after all. It is well known that 
every star in the heavens sends forth per- 
petual radiations of light ; which radiations 
in a given number of minutes, days, months 
or years, reach our Earth. It depends of 
course on the distance between the particular 
star and our planet, as to how long these 
light-vibrations take to arrive here. One 
ray from some stars will occupy thousands 
of years in its course, — in fact, the original 
planet from which it fell, may be swept out 
of existence before it has time to penetrate 
our atmosphere. All this is in the lesson - 
books of children, and is familiar to every 
beginner in the rudiments of astronomy. 
But apart from time and distance, there is 
no cessation to these light-beats or vibrations ; 
they keep on arriving for ever, without an 
instant's pause. Now, my great idea, was, 
as you know, to catch these reflexes on a 
mirror or dial of magnetic spar, — and you 
see for yourself that this thing, which seemed 
impossible, is to a certain extent done. 
Magnetic spar is not a new substance to you, 



34 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



any more than it was to the Egyptian priests 
of old — and the quality it has, of attracting 
light in its exact lines wherever light falls, 
is no surprise to you, though it might seem 
.a marvel to the ignorant. Every little zig- 
zag or circular flash on that Disc, is a vibra- 
tion of light from some star, — but what 
puzzles and confounds my skill is this ; — That 
there is a Meaning in those lines — a distinct 
Meaning which asks to be interpreted, — a 
picture which is ever on the point of 
declaring itself, and is never declared. Mine 
is the torture of a Tantalus watching night 
after night that mystic Dial !" 

He went close up to the Disc, and pointed 
out one particular spot on its surface where 
at that moment there was a glittering tangle 
of little prismatic tints. 

"Observe this with me^ — " he said, and 
El-Rami approached him — "Here is a per- 
fect cluster of light - vibrations, — in two 
minutes by my watch they will be here no 
Jonger, — and a year or more may pass before 
they appear again. From what stars they 
fall, and why they have deeper colours than 
most of the reflexes, I cannot tell. There — 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 135 



see !" and he looked round with an air of 
melancholy triumph mingled with wonder, as 
the little spot of brilliant colour suddenly 
disappeared like the moisture of breath from 
a mirror — " They are gone ! I have seen 
them four times only since the Disc was 
balanced twelve years ago, — and 1 have tried 
in every way to trace their origin — in vain — 
.all, all in vain ! If 1 could only decipher the 
Meaning ! — for as sure as God lives there is 
a Meaning there." 

El-Rami was silent, and Dr. Kremlin went 
on. 

" The air is a conveyer of Sound — " he 
said meditatively-^" The light is a conveyer 
of Scenes. Mark that well. The light may 
be said to create landscape and generate 
Colour. Reflexes of light make pictures, — 
witness the instantaneous flash, which with 
the aid of chemistry, will give you a photo- 
graph in a second. I firmly believe that all 
reflexes of light are so many letters of a 
marvellous alphabet, which if we could only 
read it, would enable us to grasp the highest 
secrets of creation. The seven tones of 
music, for example, are in Nature ;— in anv 



136 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

ordinan storm, where there is wind and rain 
and the rustle of leaves, you can hear the 
complete scale on which ever}^ atom of 
musical composition has ever been written. 
^ et what ages it took us to reduce that 
scale to a visible tangible form, — and even 
now we have not mastered the quarter-tones 
heard in the songs of birds. And just as 
the whole realm of music is in seven tones 
of natural Sound, so the whole realm of light 
is in a pictured Language of Design, Colour, 
and Method, with an intention and a message, 
which wc — we human beings — are intended 
to discover. Yet with all these great mysteries 
waiting to be solved, the most of us are con- 
tent to eat and drink and sleep and breed 
and die, like the lowest cattle, in brutish 
ignorance of more than half our intellectual 
privileges. I tell you, El-Rami, if I could 
only find out and place correctly one of those 
light-vibrations, the rest might be easy." 

He heaved a profound sigh, -and the great 
Disc, circling steadily with its grave monoto- 
nous hum, might have passed for the wheel of 
Fate which he. poor mortal, was powerless to 
stop though it should grind him to atoms. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 137 



El- Rami watched him with interest and 
something of compassion for a minute or 
two, — then he touched his arm gently. 

" Kremlin, is it not time for you to rest ?" 
he asked kindly — " You have not slept well 
for many nights, — you are tired out, — why 
not sleep now, and gather strength for future 
labours ?" 

The old man started, and a slight shiver 
ran through him. 

*' You mean .^" he began. 

" I mean to do for you what I promised — " 
replied El-Rami — " You asked me for this — " 
and he held up the gold-stoppered flask he 
had brought in with him from the next room 
— '* It is all ready prepared for you — drink 
it, and to-morrow you will find yourself a 
new man." 

Dr. Kremlin looked at him suspiciously — 
and then began to laugh with a sort of 
hysterical nervousness. 

" I believe — " he murmured indistinctly 
and with affected jocularity — " I believe that 
you want to poison me ! Yes — yes ! — to 
poison me and take all my discoveries for 
yourself! You want to solve the great Star- 



138 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



problem and take all the glory and rob me — 
yes, rob me of my hard-earned fame ! — yes 
— it is poison — poison!'' 

And he chuckled feebly, and hid his face 
between his hands. 

El-Rami heard him with an expression of 
pain and pity in his fine eyes. 

" My poor old friend — ' he said gently — 
" You are wearied to death — so I pardon 
you your sudden distrust of me. As for 
poison — see !" and he lifted the flask he held 
to his lips and drank a few drops — " Have 
no fear ! Your Star-problem is your own, — 
and I desire that you should live long enough 
to read its great mystery. As for me, 1 have 
other labours ; — to me stars, solar systems, 
aye! whole Universes are nothing, — my 
business is with the Spirit that dominates 
Matter — not with Matter itself. Enough ;- - 
will you live or will you die? It rests with 
yourself to choose — for you are ill, Kremlin 
— very ill, — your brain is fagged and weak 
— you cannot go on much longer like this. 
Why did you send for me if you do not 
believe in me T 

The old Doctor tottered to the window- 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 139 



bench and sat down, — then looking up, he 
forced a smile. 

" Don't you see for yourself what a coward 
I have become ?" he said — " I tell you I am 
afraid of everything ; — of you — of myself — 
and worst of all, of that — " and he pointed 
to the Disc — " which lately seems to have 
grown stronger than I am." He paused a 
moment — then went on with an effort — " I 
had a strange idea the other night, — I 
thought, suppose God, in the beginning, 
created the Universe simply to divert Him- 
self — just as I created my Dial there ; — and 
suppose it had happened that instead of 
being His servant as He originally intended, 
it had become His master? — that He actually 
had no more power over it } Suppose He 
were dead ? We see that the works of men 
live ages after their death, — why not the 
works of God ? Horrible — horrible ! Death 
is horrible ! I do not want to die, El- Rami !" 
and his faint voice rose to a querulous wail — 
" Not yet — not yet ! I cannot ! — I must finish 
my work — I must know — I must live ' 

"You shall live," interrupted El-Rami. 
. ' Trust me — there is no death in this /" 



HO THE SOUL OF UUTH 

He held up the mysterious flask again. 
Kremlin stared at it, shaking all over with 
nervousness — then on a sudden impulse 
clutched it. 

"Am I to drink it all?" he asked 
faintly. 

El-Rami bent his head in assent. 

Kremlin hesitated a moment longer — then 
with the air of one who takes a sudden 
desperate resolve, he gave one eager yearn- 
ing look at the huge revolving Disc, and 
putting the flask to his lips, drained its con- 
tents. He had scarcely swallowed the last 
drop, when he sprang to his feet, uttered a 
smothered cry, staggered, and fell on the 
floor motionless. El-Rami caught him up 
at once, and lifted him easily in his strong 
arms on to the window-seat, where he laid 
him down gently, placing coverings over 
him and a pillow under his head. The old 
man's face was white and rigid as the face 
of a corpse, but he breathed easily and 
quietly, and El-Rami, knowing the action 
of the draught he had administered, saw 
there was no cause for anxiety in his con- 
dition. He himself leaned on the sill of the 



THE SOUL OF LIUTH 141 

great open window and looked out at the 
starlit sky for some minutes, and listened to 
the sonorous plashing of the waves on the 
shore below. Now and then he glanced 
back over his shoulder at the great Dial 
and its shining star-patterns. 

"Only Lilith could decipher the meaning 
of it all," he mused. '* Perhaps, — some day 
— it might be possible to ask her. But then, 
do I in truth believe what she tells me ? — 
would Ae believe ? The transcendentally 
uplifted soul of a woman ! — ought we to 
credit the message obtained through so 
ethereal a means ? I doubt it. We men 
are composed of such stuff that we must 
convince ourselves of a fact by every 
known test before we finally accept it, — 
like St. Thomas, unless we put our rough 
hand into the wounded side of Christ, and 
thrust our fingers into the nail-prints, we 
will not believe. And I shall never resolve 
myself as to which is the wisest course. — to 
accept everything with the faith of a child, or 
dispute everything with the arguments of a 
controversialist. The child is happiest ; hut 
then the question arises — Were we meant to 



142 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



be happy ? I think not, — since there is 
nothing that can make us so for long." 

His brow clouded and he stood absorbed, 
looking at the stars, yet scarcely conscious 
of beholding them. Happiness! It had a 
sweet sound, — an exquisite suggestion ; and 
his thoughts clung round it persistently as 
bees round honey. Happiness ! — What could 
engender it ? The answer came unbidden to 
his brain — "Love!" He gave an involun- 
tary gesture of irritation, as though someone 
had spoken the word in his ear. 

" Love !" he exclaimed half aloud. " There 
is no such thing — not on earth. There is 
Desire, — the animal attraction of one body 
for another, which ends in disgust and satiety. 
Love should have no touch of coarseness in 
it, — and can anything be coarser than the 
marriage - tie ? — the bond which compels a 
man and woman to live together in daily 
partnership of bed and board, and reproduce 
their kind like pigs, or other common cattle. 
To call that love is a sacrilege to the very 
name, — for Love is a divine emotion, and 
demands divinest comprehension." ' 

He went up to where Kremlin lay reclined, 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 145 



— the old man slept profoundly and peace- 
fully, — his face had gained colour and seemed 
less pinched and meagre in outline. El-Ram i 
felt his pulse, — it beat regularly and calmly. 
Satisfied with his examination, he wheeled 
away the great telescope into a corner, and 
shut the window against the night air, — -then 
he lay down himself on the floor, with his 
coat rolled under him for a pillow, and com- 
posed himself to sleep till morning. 





CHAPTER XL 



The next day dawned in brilliant sunshine ; 
the sea was as smooth as a lake, and the air 
pleasantly warm and still. Dr. Kremlin's 
servant Karl got up in a very excellent 
humour, — he had slept well, and he awoke 
with the comfortable certainty of finding his 
eccentric master in better health and spirits, 
as this was always the case after one of 
El- Rami's rare visits. And Karl, though he 
did not much appreciate learning, especially 
when the pursuit of it induced people, as he 
said, to starve themselves for the sake of 
acquiring wisdom, did feel in his own heart 
that there was something about El-Rami that 
was not precisely like other men, and he had 
accordingly for him not only a great attrac- 
tion, but a profound respect. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 145 

"If anybody can do the Herr Doctor 
good, he can — " he thought, as he laid the 
breakfast - table in the little dining-room 
whose French windows opened out to a tiny 
green lawn fronting the sea, — '' Certainly one 
can never cure old age, — that is an ailment 
for which there is no remedy ; but however 
old we are bound to get, I don't see why we 
should not be merry over it and enjoy our 
meals to the last. Now let me see — what 
have I to get ready — " and he enumerated 
on his fingers — * ' Coffee — toast — rolls, — 
butter — eggs — fish, — I think that will do ; — 
and if I just put these few roses in the 
middle of the table to tempt the eye a bit," — 
and he suited the action to the word — 
"There now! — if the Herr Doctor can be 
pleased at all " 

"Breakfast, Karl! breakfast!" interrupted 
a clear cheerful voice, the sound of which 
made Karl start with nervous astonishment. 
" Make haste, my good fellow ! My friend 
here has to catch an early train." 

Karl turned round, stared, and stood 
motionless, open-mouthed, and struck dumb 
with sheer surprise. Could it be the old 

VOL. I 10 



146 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



Doctor who spoke ? Was it his master at 
all, — this hale, upright, fresh-faced individual 
who stood before him, smiling pleasantly and 
giving his orders with such a brisk air of 
authority ? Bewildered and half afraid, he 
cast a desperate glance at El- Rami, who had 
also entered the room, and who. seeing his 
confusion, made him a quick secret sign. 

"Yes — be as quick as you can, Karl,' he 
said. " Your master has had a good night, 
and is much better, as you see. We shall be 
glad of our breakfast ; I told you we should, 
last night. Don't keep us waiting !" 

*' Yes, sir — no, sir !' stammered Karl, trying 
to collect his scattered senses and staring 
again at Dr. Kremlin, — then, scarcely know- 
ing whether he was on his head or his heels, 
he scrambled out of the room into the 
passage, where he stood for a minute stupe- 
fied and inert. 

"It must be devil's work!' he ejaculated 
amazedly. " Who but the devil could make 
a man look twenty years younger in a single 
night ? Yes — twenty years younger, — he 
looks that, if he looks a day. God have 
mercy on us ! — what will happen next — what 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 147 

sort of a service have I got into? — Oh, my 
poor mother !" 

This last was Karl's supremest adjuration, 
— when he could find nothing else to say, the 
phrase "Oh, my poor mother!" came as 

naturally to his lips as the familiar " D n 

it !" from the mouth of an old swaggerer in 
the army or navy. He meant nothing by it, 
except perhaps a vague allusion to the inno- 
cent days of his childhood, when he was 
ignorant of the wicked ways of the wicked 
world, and when " Oh, my poor mother !" 
had not the most distant idea as to what 
was going to become of her hopeful first- 
born. 

Meantime, while he went down into the 
kitchen and bustled about there, getting the 
coffee, frying the fish, boiling the eggs, and 
cogitating with his own surprised and half- 
terrified self, Dr. Kremlin and his guest had 
stepped out into the little garden together, 
and they now stood there on the grass-plot 
surveying the glittering wide expanse of 
ocean before them. They spoke not a word 
for some minutes, — then, all at once, Kremlin 
turned round and caught both El- Rami's 



148 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

hands in his own and pressed them fervendy 
— there were tears in his eyes. 

''What can I say to you ?" he murmured 
in a voice broken by strong emotion — " How 
can I thank you ? You have been as a god 
to me ; — I Hve again, — I breathe again,- — 
this morning the world seems new to my 
eyes, — as new as though I had never seen it 
before. I have left a whole cycle of years, with 
all their suffering and bitterness, behind me, 
and I am ready now to commence life afresh." 

'* That is well !" said El- Rami gently, 
cordially returning the pressure of his hands. 
" That is as it should be. To see your 
strength and vitality thus renewed, is more 
than enough reward for me." 

"And do 1 really /oo^ younger.-^ — am I 
actually changed in appearance ?" asked 
Kremlin eagerly. 

El-Rami smiled. *' Well, you saw poor 
Karl's amazement" — he replied. "He was 
afraid of you, I think — and also of me. Yes, 
you are changed, though not miraculously 
so. Your hair is as gray as ever, — the same 
furrows of thought are on your face ; — all 
that has occurred is the simple renewal of 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 149 



the tissues, and re-vivifying of the blood, — 
and this gives you the look of vigour and 
heartiness you have this morning." 

'* But will it last? — will it last?" queried 
Kremlin anxiously. 

''If you follow my instructions, of course 
it will — " returned El-Rami — " I will see to 
that. I have left with you a certain quantity 
of the vital fluid, — all you have to do is to 
take ten drops every third night, or inject it 
into your veins if you prefer that method ; — 
then, — as 1 told you, — you cannot die, except 
by violence." 

"And no violence comes here" — said 
Kremlin with a smile, glancing round at the 
barren yet picturesque scene — *' I am as 
lonely as an unmated eagle on a rock, — and 
the greater my solitude the happier I am. 
The world is very beautiful — that I grant, — 
but the beings that inhabit it spoil it for me, 
albeit I am one of them. And so I cannot 
die, except by violence ? Almost I touch 
immortality! Marvellous El-Rami! You 
should be a king of nations I" 

"Too low a destiny!" replied El-Rami - 
** I had rather be a ruler of planets." 



150 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

** Ah, there is your stumbling-block !" said 
Kremlin, with sudden seriousness, — ''You 
soar too high — you are never contented." 

"Content is impossible to the Soul" — 
returned El-Rami, — "Nothing is too high 
or too low for its investigation. And what- 
e\'er ca?i be done, should be done, in order 
that the whole gamut of life may be pro- 
perly understood by those who are forced to 
live It. 

"And do not you understand it.'^" 

*' In part — yes. But not wholly. It is 
not sufficient to have traced the ripple of a 
brain-wave through the air and followed its 
action and result with exactitude, — nor is it 
entirely satisfactory to have all the secrets of 
physical and mental magnetism, and attrac- 
tion between bodies and minds, made clear 
and easy without knowing the reason of these 
things. It is like the light-vibrations on 
your Disc, — they come — and go ; but one 
needs to know why and whence they come 
and go. I know much — but I would fain 
know more." 

" But is not the pursuit of knowledge 
infinite T 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 151 



** It may be^ — if Infinity exists. Infinity 
is possible — and I believe in it, — all the 
same I must prove it." 

" You will need a thousand life -times 
to fulfil such works as you attempt !" ex- 
claimed Kremlin. 

" And I will live them all ;" — responded 
El- Rami composedly — "I have sworn to 
let nothing baffle me, and nothing shall !" 

Dr. Kremlin looked at him in vague awe, 
— the dark haughty handsome face spoke 
more resolvedly than words. 

''Pardon me, El-Rami" — he said with a 
little diffidence — " It seems a very personal 
question to put, and possibly you may resent 
it, still I have often thought of asking it. 
You are a very handsome and very fascinat- 
ing man — you would be a fool if you were 
not perfectly aware of your own attractive- 
ness, — well, now tell me — have you never 
loved anybody } — any woman ?" 

The sleepy brilliancy of El-Rami's fine 
eyes lightened with sudden laughter. 

"Loved a woman? — 17' he exclaimed-- 
"The Fates forbid! What should I do with- 
the gazelles and kittens and toys of life, such 



152 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



as women are ? Of all animals on earth, they 
have the least attraction for me. I would 
rather stroke a bird's wings than a woman's 
hair, and the fragrance of a rose pressed 
against my lips is sweeter and more sincere 
than any woman's kisses. As the females 
of the race, women are useful in their way, 
but not interesting at any time — at least, not 
to me." 

'' Do you not believe in love then ?'' asked 
Kremlin. 

''No. Do you ?'' 

"Yes," — and Kremlin's voice was very 
tender and impressive — '* I believe it is the 
only thing of God in an almost godless 
world." 

El- Rami shrugged his shoulders. 

" You talk like a poet. I, who am not 
poetical, cannot so idealize the physical 
attraction between male and female, which 
is nothing but a law of nature, and is shared 
by us in common with the beasts of the 
field." 

" 1 think your wisdom is in error there " — 
said Kremlin slowly — "Physical attraction 
there is, no doubt — but there is something 



THE SOUL OF LI LITE 153 



else — something more subtle and delicate, 
which escapes the analysis of both philoso- 
pher and scientist. Moreover it is an 
imperative spiritual sense, as well as a 
material craving, — the soul can no more be 
satisfied without love than the body." 

*' That is your opinion — " and El-Rami 
smiled again, — " But you see a contradiction 
of it in me. / am satisfied to be without 
love, — and certainly I never look upon the 
ordinary woman of the day, without the dis- 
agreeable consciousness that I am beholding 
the living essence of sensualism and folly." 

** You are very bitter," said Kremlin 
wonderingly — " Of course no ' ordinary ' 
woman could impress you, — but there are 
remarkable women, — women of power and 
genius and lofty ambition." 

" Les femmes incomprises — oh yes, I 
know!" laughed El-Rami — "Troublesome 
creatures all, both to themselves and others. 
Why do you talk on these subjects, my dear 
Kremlin? — Is it the effect of your rejuvenated 
condition ? I am sure there are many more 
interesting matters worthy of discussion. I 
shall never love — not in this planet ; in some 



154 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

Other state of existence I may experience 
the ' divine * emotion. But the meannesses, 
vanities, contemptible jealousies, and low 
spites of women such as inhabit this earth 
fill me with disgust and repulsion, — besides, 
women are treacherous, — and 1 loathe 
treachery." 

At that moment Karl appeared at the 
dining-room window as a sign that breakfast 
was served, and they turned to go indoors. 

*' All the same, El -Rami — " persisted 
Kremlin, laying one hand on his friend's arm 
— *' Do not count on being able to escape 
the fate to which all humanity must suc- 
cumb " 

" Death ?" interposed El- Rami lightly — " I 
have almost conquered that !" 

" Aye, but you cannot conquer Love !" 
said Kremlin impressively — "Love is stronger 
than Death." 

El- Rami made no answer, — and they went 
in to breakfast. They did full justice to the 
meal, much to Karl's satisfaction, though he 
could not help stealing covert glances at his 
master's changed countenance, which had 
become so much fresher and younger since 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT J I 155 

the previous day. How such a change had 
been effected he could not imagine, but on 
the whole he was disposed to be content 
with the evident improvement. 

*' Even if he is the devil himself — " he 
considered, his thoughts reverting to El- 
Rami — " I am bound to say that the devil is 
a kind-hearted fellow. There's no doubt 
about that. I suppose I am an abandoned 
sinner only fit for the burning — but if God 
insists on making us old and sick and 
miserable, and the devil is able to make us 
young and strong and jolly, why let us be 
friends with the devil, say I ! Oh my poor 
mother !" 

With such curious emotions as these in 
his mind, it was rather difficult to maintain a 
composed face, and wait upon the two gentle- 
men with that grave deportment which it is 
the duty of every well-trained attendant to 
assume, — however, he managed fairly we'll, 
and got accustomed at last to hand his 
master a cup of coffee without staring at him 
till his eyes almost projected out of his head. 

El-Rami took his departure soon after 
breakfast, with a few recommendations to his 



156 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



friend not to work too hard on the problems 
suggested by the Disc. 

" Ah, but I have now found a new clue ;" 
said Kremlin triumphantly — " I found it in 
sleep. I shall work it out in the course of 
a few weeks, I dare say — and I will let you 
know if the result is successful. You see, 
thanks to you, my friend, I have time now, 
— there is no need to toil with feverish haste 
and anxiety — death that seemed so near, is 
thrust back in the distance " 

"Even so!" said El-Rami with a strange 
smile — " In the far, far distance, — ^baffled and 
kept at bay. Oddly enough, there are some 
who say there is no death " 

" But there is — there must be ! — " ex- 
claimed Kremlin quickly. 

El-Rami raised his hand with a slight 
commanding gesture. 

'* It is not a certainty— " he said — " inas- 
much as there is no certainty. And there 
is no ' Must-Be,' — there is only the Soul's 
'Shall-Be'!" 

And with these somewhat 'enigmatical 
words, he bade his friend farewell, and went 
his wav. 




CHAPTER XII. 

It was yet early in the afternoon when he 
arrived back in London. He went straight 
home to his own house, letting himself in as 
usual with his latch-key. In the hall he 
paused, listening. He half expected to hear 
F6raz playing one of his delicious dreamy 
improvisations, — but there was not a sound 
anywhere, and the deep silence touched him 
with an odd sense of disappointment and 
vague foreboding. His study door stood 
slightly ajar, — he pushed it wider open very 
noiselessly and looked in. His young 
brother was there, seated in a chair near the 
window, reading. El-Rami gazed at him 
dubiously, with a slowly dawning sense that 
there was some alteration in his appearance 
which he could not all at once comprehend. 



58 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



Presently he realized that F^raz had evidently 
yielded to some overwhelming suggestion of 
j)ersonal vanity, which had induced him to 
put on more brilliant attire. He had changed 
his plain white linen garb for one of richer 
material, composed In the same Eastern 
fashion, — he wore a finely-chased gold belt, 
from which a gold-sheathed dagger depended, 
— ^and a few gold ornaments gleamed here 
and there among the drawn silken folds of 
his upper vest. He looked handsome enough 
for a new Agathon as he sat there apparently 
absorbed in study, — the big volume he 
perused resting partly on his knee, — but 
El-Rami's brow contracted with sudden anger 
as he observed him from the half-open door- 
way where he stood, himself unseen, — and 
his dark face grew very pale. He threw the 
door back on Its hinges with a clattering 
sound and entered the room. 

•' Feraz !" 

F6raz looked up, lifting his eyelids indif- 
ferently and smiling coldly. 

'■ What, El- Rami ! Back so early ? 1 did 
not expect you till nightfall." 

''Did you not?" said his brother, advancing 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 159 

slowly — " Pray how was that ? You know I 
generally return after a night's absence early 
in the next day. Where is your usual word 
of welcome ? What ails you ? You seem in 
a very odd humour !" 

" Do I ?" — and Feraz stretched himself a 
little, — rose, yawning, and laid down the 
volume he held on the table — *' I am not 
aware of it myself, I assure you. How did 
you find your old madman ? And did you 
tell him you were nearly as mad as he ?" 

El- Rami's eyes flashed indignant amaze- 
ment and wrath. 

*' Feraz ! — What do you mean ?" 

With a fierce impulsive movement Feraz 
turned and fully faced him, — all his forced 
and feigned calmness gone to the winds, — a 
glowing picture of youth and beauty and 
rage commingled. 

"What do I mean .'^" he cried — "I mean 
this ! That I am tired of being your slave— 
your * subject ' for conjurer's tricks of mes- 
merism, — that from henceforth I resist your 
power, — that I will not serve you — will not 
obey you — will not yield — no ! — not an inch 
of my liberty — to your influence, — that I am 



i6o THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

a free man, as you are, and that I will have 
the full rights of both my freedom and man- 
hood. You shall play no more with me ; I 
refuse to be your dupe as I have been. 
This is what I mean ! — and as I will have no 
deception or subterfuge between us, — for I 
scorn a lie, — hear the truth from me at once ; 
— I know your secret — I have seen Her!" 

El-Rami stood erect, — immovable; — he 
was very pale ; his breath came and went 
quickly — once his hand clenched, but he said 
nothing. 

** I have seen Her!" cried Feraz again, 
flinging up his arms with an ecstatic wild 
gesture — '' A creature fairer than any vision ! 
— and you — you have the heart to bind her 
fast in darkness and in nothingness, — you it 
is who have shut her sight to the world, 
you have made for her, through your horrible 
skill, a living death in which she knows 
nothing, feels nothing, sees nothing, loves 
nothing ! I tell you it is a cursed deed you 
are doing, — a deed worse than murder — I 
would not have believed it of you ! I thought 
your experiments were all for good, — I never 
would have deemed you capable of cruelty 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H i6i 



to a helpless woman ! But I will release her 
from your spells, — she is too beautiful to be 
made her own living monument, — Zaroba is 
right — she needs life — joy — love ! — she shall 
have them all ; — through vie /" 

He paused, out of breath with the heat 
and violence of his own emotions ; — El-Rami 
stood, still immovably regarding him. 

'' You may be as angered as you please " — 
went on Feraz with sullen passion — "I care 
nothing now. It was Zaroba who bade me 
go up yonder and see her where she slept ; 
... it was Zaroba " 

'''The woman tempted me and I did 
eat — '" quoted El-Rami coldly, — " Of course 
it was Zaroba. No other than a woman 
could thus break a sworn word. Naturally 
it was Zaroba, — the paid and kept slave of 
my service, who owes to me her very exist- 
ence, — who persuaded my brother to dis- 
honour." 

" Dishonour !" and Feraz laid his hand 
with a quick, almost savage gesture on the 
hilt of the dagger at his belt. El-Rami's 
dark eyes blazed upon him scornfully. 

" So soon a braggart of the knife ?" he 

VOL. I. II 



i62 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

said. ''What theatrical show is this ? You 
— you — the poet, the dreamer, the musician 
— the gentle lad whose life was one of peace- 
ful and innocent reverie — are you so soon 
changed to the mere swaggering puppy of 
manhood who pranks himself out in gaudy 
clothing, and thinks by vulgar threatening to 
overawe his betters? If so, 'tis a pity — but 
I shall not waste time in deploring it. Hear 
me, Feraz — I said 'dishonour,' — swallow the 
word as best you may, it is the only one that 
fits the act of prying into secrets not your 
own. But I am not angered, — the mischief 
wrought is not beyond remedy, and if it were 
there would be still less use in bewailing it. 
What is done cannot be undone. Now tell 
me, — you say you have seen Her. Whom 
have you seen ?" 

Fdraz regarded him amazedly. 

" Whom have I seen ?" he echoed — 
''Whom should I see, if not the girl you 
keep locked in those upper rooms, — a beauti- 
ful maiden, sleeping her life away, in cruel 
darkness and ignorance of all things true and 
fair!" 

"An enchanted princess, to your fancy — " 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 163 



said El-Rami derisively. " Well, if you 
thought so, and if you beUeved yourself to 
be a new sort of Prince Charming, why, if 
she were only sleeping, did you not wake 
her?" 

" Wake her ?" exclaimed Feraz excitedly, 
— "Oh, I would have given my life to see 
those fringed lids uplift and show the wonders 
of the eyes beneath ! I called her by every 
endearing name — I took her hands and 
warmed them in my own — I would have 
kissed her lips " 

'* You dared not !" cried El-Rami, fired 
beyond his own control, and making a fierce 
bound towards him — '' You dared not pollute 
her by your touch !" 

Feraz recoiled, — a sudden chill ran through 
his blood. His brother was transformed 
with the passion that surged through him, — 
his eyes flashed — his lips quivered — his very 
form seemed to tower up and tremble and 
dilate with rage. 

*' El-Rami!" he stammered nervously, 
feeling all his newly - born defiance and 
bravado oozing away under the terrible 
magnetism of this man, whose fury was 



[64 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



nearly as electric as that of a sudden thunder- 
storm, — " El-RamI, I did no harm, — Zaroba 
was there beside me " 

"Zaroba!" echoed El-Rami furiously — 
" Zaroba would stand by and see an angel 
violated, and think it the greatest happiness 
that could befall her sanctity ! To be of 
common clay, w4th household joys and 
kitchen griefs, is Zaroba's idea of noble 
living. Oh rash unhappy Feraz ! you say 
you know my secret — you do not know it — 
you cannot guess it ! Foolish, ignorant boy ! 
— did you think yourself a new Christ with 
power to raise the Dead ?" 

*' The dead ?" muttered Feraz, with white 
lips — "The dead? She — the girl I saw — 
lives and breathes ..." 

'' By 77iy will alone !" said El-Rami — " By 
my force — by my knowledge — by my 
constant watchful care, — by my control over 
the subtle threads that connect Spirit with 
Matter. Otherwise, according to all the 
laws of ordinary nature, that girl is dead — 
she died in the Syrian desert six years ago !" 




CHAPTER XIII. 



At these words, pronounced slowly and with 
emphatic distinctness, Feraz staggered back 
dizzily and sank into a chair, — drops of 
perspiration bedewed his forehead, and a 
sick faint feeling overcame him. He said 
nothing, — he could find no words in which 
to express his mingled horror and amaze- 
ment. El-Rami watched him keenly, — and 
presently Feraz, looking up, caught the calm, 
full and fiery regard of his brother's eyes. 
With a smothered cry, he raised his hands 
as though to shield himself from a blow. 

" I will not have it ;" — he muttered faintly 
— *' You shall not force my thoughts, — I will 
believe nothing against my own will. You 
shall no longer delude my eyes and ears — I 
have read — I know, — I know how such 
trickery is done !" 



J 66 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

El-Rami uttered an impatient exclamation, 
and paced once or twice up and down the 
room. 

" See here, Feraz ;" — he said, suddenly 
stopping before the chair in which his 
brother sat, — '' I swear to you that I am 
not exercising one iota of my influence upon 
you. When I do, I will tell you, that you 
may be prepared to resist me if you choose. 
I am using no power of any kind upon you — 
be satisfied of that. But, as you have forced 
your way into the difficult labyrinth of my 
life's work, it is as well that you should have 
an explanation of what seems to you full of 
mysterious evil and black magic. You accuse 
me of wickedness, — you tell me 1 am guilty 
of a deed worse than murder. Now this is 
mere rant and nonsense, — you speak in such 
utter ignorance of the facts, that I forgive 
you, as one is bound to forgive all faults com- 
mitted through sheer want of instruction. I 
do not think I am a wicked man ' — he 
paused, with an earnest, almost pathetic 
expression on his face — "at least I strive 
not to be. I am ambitious and sceptical — 
and I am not altogether convinced of there 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 167 



being any real intention of ultimate good in 
the arrangements of this world as they at 
present exist, — but I work without any 
malicious intention ; and without undue boast- 
ing I believe I am as honest and con- 
scientious as the best of my kind. But 
that is neither here nor there, — as I said 
before, you have broken into a secret not 
intended for your knowledge — and that 
you may not misunderstand me yet more 
thoroughly than you seem to do, I will tell 
you what I never wished to bother your 
brains with. For you have been very happy 
till now, Feraz — happy in the beautiful sim- 
plicity of the life you led — the life of a poet 
and dreamer, — the happiest life in the world !" 

He broke off, with a short sigh of mingled 
vexation and regret — then he seated himself 
immediately opposite his brother and went 
on — 

"You were too young to understand the 
loss it was to us both when our parents died, 
— or to know the immense reputation our 
father Nadir Zaranos had won throughout 
the East for his marvellous skill in natural 
science and medicine. He died in the prime 



i68 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

of his life, — our mother followed him within 
a month, — and you were left to my charge, 
— you a child then, and I almost a man. 
Our father's small but rare library came into 
my possession, together with his own manu- 
scripts treating of the scientific and spiritual 
organization of Nature in all its branches, — 
and these opened such extraordinary vistas 
of possibility to me as to what might be 
done if such and such theories could be 
practically carried out and acted upon, that I 
became fired with the ardour of discovery. 
The more I studied, the more convinced and 
eager I became in the pursuit of such know- 
ledge as is generally deemed supernatural, 
and beyond the reach of all human inquiry. 
One or two delicate experiments in chemistry 
of a rare and subtle nature were entirely 
successful, — and by-and-bye I began to look 
about for a subject on whom I could practise 
the power I had attained. There was no 
one whom I could personally watch and sur- 
round with my hourly influence except your- 
self, — therefore I made my first great trial 
upon jj/^?/." 

Feraz moved uneasily in his chair, — his 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 169 

face wore a doubtful, half-sullen expression, 
but he listened to El- Rami's every word 
with vivid and almost painful interest. 

''At that time you were a mere boy—" 
pursued El- Rami — "but strong and vigorous, 
and full of the mischievous pranks and sports 
customary to healthy boyhood. I began by 
slow degrees to educate you — not with the 
aid of schools or tutors — but simply by my 
Will. You had a singularly unretentive brain, 
— you were never fond of music — you would 
never read, — you had no taste for study. Your 
delight was to ride — to swim like a fish, — to 
handle a gun — to race, to leap, — to play 
practical jokes on other boys of your own 
age and fight them if they resented it ; — all 
very amusing performances no doubt, but 
totally devoid of intelligence. Judging you 
dispassionately, I found that you were a very 
charming gamesome animal, — physically per- 
fect — with a Mind somewhere if one could 
only discover it, and a Soul or Spirit behind 
the Mind — if one could only discover that 
also. I set myself the task of finding out 
both these hidden portions of your composi- 
tion — and of not only finding them, but 



I70 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

moulding and influencing them according to 
my desire and plan." 

A faint tremor shook the younger man's 
frame — but he said nothing. 

" You are attending to me closely, I hope ?" 
said El- Rami pointedly — '' because you must 
distinctly understand that this conversation is 
the first and last we shall have on the matter. 
After to-day, the subject must drop between 
us forever, and I shall refuse to answer any 
more questions. You hear ?" 

Feraz bent his head. 

'' I hear — " he answered with an effort — 
''And what I hear seems strange and terrible!" 

''Strange and terrible?" echoed El-Rami. 
" How so ? What is there strange or 
terrible in the pursuit of Wisdom ? Yet — 
perhaps you are right, and the blank 
ignorance of a young child is best, — for 
there is something appalling in the infinitude 
of knowledge — an infinitude which must 
remain infinite, if it be true that there is a 
God who is forever thinking, and whose 
thoughts become realities." 

He paused, with a rapt look, — then resumed 
in the same even tone, — 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 171 

'' When I had made up my mind to experi- 
inentaHze upon you, I lost no time in com- 
mencing my work. One of my chief desires 
was to avoid the least risk of endangering 
your health — your physical condition was 
admirable, and I resolved to keep it so. In 
this I succeeded. I made life a joy to you — 
the mere act of breathing a pleasure — you 
^rew up before my eyes like the vigorous 
sapling of an oak that rejoices in the mere 
expansion of its leaves to the fresh air. 
The other and more subtle task was harder, 
— it needed all my patience — all my skill, — 
but I was at last rewarded. Through my 
concentrated influence, which surrounded you 
as with an atmosphere in which you moved, 
and slept, and woke again, and which forced 
every fibre of your brain to respond to mine, 
the animal faculties which were strongest in 
you, became subdued and tamed, — and the 
mental slowly asserted themselves. I resolved 
you should be a poet and musician — you 
became both ; — you developed an ardent 
love of study, and every few months that 
passed gave richer promise of your ripening 
intelligence. Moreover, you were happy, — 



172 THE SOUL OF LJLITH 

happy in everything — happiest perhaps in 
your music, which became your leading 
passion. Having thus, unconsciously to 
yourself, fostered your mind by the silent 
workings of my own, and trained it to grow- 
up like a flower to the light, I thought I 
might make my next attempt, which was to 
probe for that subtle essence we call the 
Soul — the large wings that are hidden in the 
moth's chrysalis ; — and influence that too ; — 
but there — there by some inexplicable op- 
position of forces, I was baffled." 

Feraz raised himself half out of his chair, 
his lips parted in breathless eagerness — his 
eyes dilated and sparkling. 

" Baffled T' he repeated hurriedly — " How 
do you mean ? — in what way ?" 

" Oh, in various ways — " replied El-Rami. 
looking at him with a somewhat melancholy 
expression — " Ways that I myself am not 
able to comprehend. I found I could in- 
fluence your Inner Self to obey me, — but 
only to a very limited extent, and in mere 
trifles, — for example, as you yourself know. 
I could compel you to come to me from a 
certain distance in response to my thought. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 173 

— but in higher things you escaped me. 
You became subject to long trances, — this I 
was prepared for, as it was partially my work, 
— and during these times of physical uncon- 
sciousness, it was evident that your Soul 
enjoyed a life and liberty superior to any- 
thing these earth-regions can offer. But you 
could never remember all you saw in these 
absences, — indeed, the only suggestions you 
seem to have brought away from that other 
state of existence are the strange melodies 
you play sometimes, and that idea you have 
about your native Star." 

A curious expression flitted across Feraz's 
face as he heard — and his lips parted in a 
slight smile, but he said nothing. 

" Therefore," — pursued his brother medi- 
tatively — '' as I could get no clear exposition 
of other worlds from you, as I had hoped to 
do, I knew I had failed to command you in a 
spiritual sense. But my dominance over your 
Mind continued ; it continues still, — nay, my 
good F^raz !" — this, as Feraz seemed about 
to utter some impetuous word — " Pray that 
you may never be able to shake off my force 
entirely, — for if you do, you will lose what 



174 THE SOUL OF LI LITE 

the people of a grander and poetic day called 
Genius — and what the miserable Dry-as- 
Dusts of our modern era call Madness — the 
only gift of the gods that has ever served to 
enlighten and purify the world. But your 
genius, Feraz, belongs to me ; — I gave it to 
you, and I can take it back again if I so 
choose ; — and leave you as you originally 
were— a handsome animal with no more true 
conception of art or beauty than my Lord 
Melthorpe, or his spendthrift young cousin 
Vaughan." 

Feraz had listened thus far in silence, — 
but now he sprang out of his chair with a 
reckless gesture. 

*' I cannot bear it !" he said — " I cannot 
bear it ! El-Rami, I cannot — I will not !" 

" Cannot bear what ?" inquired his brother 
with a touch of satire in his tone — " Pray be 
calm ! — there is no necessity for such melo- 
dramatic excitement. Cannot bear what ?" 

" I will not owe everything to you !" went 
on F^raz, passionately — " How can I endure 
to know that my very thoughts are not my 
own, but emanate from you ? — that my music 
has been instilled into me by you ? — that you 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 173 



possess me by your power, body and brain, 
— great Heaven ! it is awful — intolerable — 
impossible !" 

El-Rami rose and laid one hand gently on 
his shoulder — he recoiled shudderingly — and 
the elder man sighed heavily. 

''You tremble at my touch, — " he said 
sadly — "the touch of a hand that has never 
wilfully wrought you harm, but has always 
striven to make life beautiful to you ? Well ! 
— be it so ! — you have only to say the word, 
Feraz, and you shall owe me nothing. I will 
undo all I have done, — and you shall re- 
assume the existence for which Nature 
originally made you — an idle voluptuous 
wasting of time in sensualism and folly. And 
even ^Aa^ form of life you must owe to 
Someone, — even that you must account for 
—to God !" 

The young man's head drooped, — a faint 
sense of shame stirred in him, but he was 
still resentful and sullen. 

" What have I done to you," went on El- 
Rami, " that you should turn from me thus, 
all because you have seen a dead woman's 
face for an hour ? I have made your thoughts 



76 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



harmonious — I have given you pleasure such 
as the world's ways cannot give — your mind 
has been as a clear mirror in which only the 
fairest visions of life were reflected. You 
would alter this ? — then do so, if you decide 
thereon, — but weigh the matter well and 
long, before you shake off my touch, my 
tenderness, my care." 

His voice faltered a little — but he quickly 
controlled his emotion, and continued — 

'' I must ask you to sit down again and 
hear me out patiently to the end of my story. 
At present I have only told you what con- 
cerns yourself — and how the failure of my 
experiment upon the spiritual part of your 
nature, obliged me to seek for another subject 
on whom to continue my investigations. As 
far as you are personally concerned, no failure 
is apparent — for your spirit is allowed frequent 
intervals of supernatural freedom, in which 
you have experiences that give you peculiar 
pleasure, though you are unable to impart 
them to me with positive lucidity. You visit 
a Star — so you say — with which you really 
seem to have some home connection — but 
you never get beyond this, so that it would 



THE SOUL OF ULITH 177 

appear that any higher insight is denied you. 
Now what I needed to obtain, was not only a 
higher insight, but the highest knowledge 
that could possibly be procured through a 
mingled combination of material and spiritual 
essences, and it was many a long and weary 
day before I found what I sought. At last 
my hour came — as it comes to all who have 
the patience and fortitude to wait for it." 

He paused a moment — then went on more 
quickly — 

'* You remember of course that occasion 
on which we chanced upon a party of Arab 
wanderers who were journeying across the 
Syrian desert ? — all poor and ailing, and 
almost destitute of food or water ?" 

'' I remember it perfectly !" and F6raz, 
seating himself opposite his brother again, 
listened with renewed interest and attention. 

*'They had two dying persons with them," 
continued El-Rami — " An elderly woman — 
a widow, known as Zaroba, — the other an 
orphan girl of about twelve years of age 
named Lilith. Both were perishing of fever 
and famine. I came to the rescue. I saved 
Zaroba, — and she, with the passionate im- 

VOL. I. 12 



178 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

pulsiveness of her race, threw herself in 
gratitude at my feet, and swore by ail her 
most sacred beliefs that she would be my 
slave from henceforth as long as she lived. 
All her people were dead, she told me — she 
was alone in the world — she prayed me to 
let her be my faithful servant. And truly. 
her fidelity has never failed — till now. But 
of that hereafter. The child Lilith, more 
fragile of frame and weakened to the last 
extremity of exhaustion — in spite of my un- 
remitting care — died. Do you thoroughly 
understand me — she diedr 

''She died!" repeated Feraz slowly^ — - 
'•Well— what then ?" 

" I was supporting her in my arms" — said 
El-Rami, the ardour of his description grow- 
ing upon him, and his black eyes dilating and 
burning like great jewels under the darkness 
of his brows — '' when she drew her last 
breath and sank back — a corpse. But before 
her flesh had time to stiffen, — before the 
warmth had gone out of her blood, — an idea, 
wild and daring, flashed across my mind. 
* If this child has a Soul.' 1 said to myself — 
' I will stay it in its flight from hence ! It 



i 



THE SOUL OF LILITH I7y 

shall become the new Ariel of my wish and 
will — and not till it has performed my bidding 
to the utmost extent will I, like another 
Prospero, give it its true liberty. And 1 will 
preserve the body, its mortal shell, by arti- 
ficial means, that through its medium I may 
receive the messages of the Spirit in mortal 
language such as I am able to understand.' 
No sooner had I conceived my bold project 
than I proceeded to carry it into execution. 
I injected into the still warm veins of the 
dead girl a certain fluid whose properties I 
alone know the working of — and then 1 
sought and readily obtained permission from 
the Arabs to bury her in the desert, while 
they went on their way. They were in haste 
to continue their journey, and were grateful 
to me for taking this office off their hands. 
That very day — the day the girl died — I sent 
you from me, as you know, bidding you 
make all possible speed, on an errand which 
I easily invented, to the Brethren of the Cross 
in the Island of Cyprus, — you went obediently 
enough, — surprised perhaps, but suspecting 
nothing. That same evening when the heats 
abated and the moon rose, the caravan re- 



i8o THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

sumed its pilgrimage, leaving Lilith's dead 
body with me, and also the woman Zaroba, 
who volunteered to remain and serve me in 
my tent, an offer which I accepted, seeing 
that it was her own desire, and that she 
would be useful to me. She, poor silly 
soul, took me then for a sort of god, because 
she was unable to understand the miracle of 
her own recovery from imminent death, and I 
felt certain 1 could rely upon her fidelity. 
Part of my plan I told her, — she heard with 
mingled fear and reverence, — the magic of 
the East was in her blood, however, and she 
had a superstitious belief that a truly ' wise 
man ' could do anything. So, for several 
days we stayed encamped in the desert — 
■I passing all my hours beside the dead 
Lilith, — dead, but to a certain extent living 
through artificial means. As soon as I 
received proof positive that my experiment 
was likely to be successful, I procured means 
to continue my journey on to Alexandria, and 
thence to England. To all enquirers I said 
the girl was a patient of mine who was 
suffering from epileptic trances, and the 
presence of Zaroba, who filled her post 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H i8i 



admirably as nurse and attendant, was 
sufficient to stop the mouths of would - be 
scandal-mongers. I chose my residence in 
London, because it is the largest city in the 
world, and the one most suited to pursue a 
course of study in, without one's motives 
becoming generally known. One can be 
more alone in London than in a desert if 
one chooses. Now, you know all. You 
have seen the dead Lilith, — the human 
chrysalis of the moth, — but there is a living 
Lilith too — the Soul of Lilith, which is partly 
free and partly captive, but in both conditions 
is always the servant of my Will ! ' 

Feraz looked at him in mingled awe and 
fear. 

" El-Rami," — he said tremulously — " What 
you tell me is wonderful — terrible — almost 
beyond belief, — but, 1 know something of 
your power and I must believe you. Only 
— surely you are in error when you say that 
Lilith is dead } How can she be dead, if 
you have given her life ?"' 

"Can you call that life which sleeps per- 
petually and will not wake ?" demanded 
El-Rami. 



i82 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



" Would you have her wake ?" asked 
Feraz, his heart beating quickly. 

El-Rami bent his burning gaze upon him. 

"Not so, — for if she wakes, in the usual 
sense of waking — she dies a second death 
from which there can be no recall. There is 
the terror of the thing. Zaroba's foolish 
teaching, and your misguided yielding to her 
temptation, might have resulted in the fatal 
end to my life's best and grandest work. 
But — I forgive you; — you did not know, — 
and she — she did not wake." 

*' She did not wake," echoed Feraz softly. 
" No — but- — she smiled !" 

El-Rami still kept his eyes fixed upon him, 
— there was an odd sense of irritation in his 
usually calm and coldly balanced organiza- 
tion — a feeling he strove in vain to subdue. 
She smiled ! — the exquisite Lilith — the life- 
in-death Lilith smiled, because Feraz had 
called her by some endearing name ! Surely 
it could not be! — and smothering his annoy- 
ance, he turned towards the writing - table 
and feigned to arrange some books and 
papers there. 

" El-Rami — " murmured Feraz again, but 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 183 



timidly — *' If she was a child when she died 
as you say — how is it she has grown to 
womanhood ?" 

" By artificial vitality," — said El- Rami — 
*' As a flower is forced under a hot-house,— 
and with no more trouble, and less con- 
sciousness of effort than a rose under a glass 
dome." 

" Then she lives, — " declared Feraz im- 
petuously. " She lives, — artificial or natural, 
she Aas vitality. Through your power she 
exists, and if you chose, oh, if you chose, 
El-Rami, you could wake her to the fullest 
life — to perfect consciousness, — to joy — to 
love! — Oh, she is in a blessed trance — you 
cannot call her dead f' 

El-Rami turned upon him abruptly. 

'* Be silent!" he said sternly—''! read 
your thoughts, control them, if you are 
wise ! You echo Zarobas prating — Zaroba's 
teaching. Lilith is dead, I tell you, — dead 
to you, — and, in the sense yo/^ mean — dead 
to me." 




CHAPTER XIV. 

After this, a long silence fell between them. 
Feraz sat moodily in his chair, conscious of a 
certain faint sense of shame. He was sorry 
that he had wilfully trespassed upon his 
brother's great secret, — and yet there was an 
angry pride in him, — a vague resentment at 
having been kept so long in ignorance of 
this wonderful story of Lilith, — which made 
him reluctant to acknowledge himself in the 
wrong. Moreover, his mind was possessed 
and haunted by Lilith's face, — the radiant 
face that looked like that of an angel sleep- 
ing, — and perplexedly thinking over all he 
had heard, he wondered if he would ever again 
have the opportunity of beholding what had 
seemed to him the incarnation of ideal love- 
liness. Surely yes ! — Zaroba would be his 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H i8: 



friend, — Zaroba would let him gaze his fill 
on that exquisite form — would let him touch 
that little, ethereally delicate hand, as soft as 
velvet and as white as snow ! Absorbed in 
these reflections, he scarcely noticed that El- 
Rami had moved away from him to the 
writing-table, and that he now sat there in 
his ebony chair, turning over the leaves ot 
the curious Arabic volume which Feraz had 
had such trouble in deciphering on the 
previous day. Ihe silence in the room con- 
tinued ; outside there was the perpetual sullen 
roar of raging restless London, — now and 
again the sharp chirruping of contentious 
sparrows, arguing over a crumb of food as 
parliamentary agitators chatter over a crumb 
of difference, stirred the quiet air. Feraz 
stretched himself and yawned, — he was 
getting sleepy, and as he realized this fact, 
he nervously attributed it to his brother's in- 
fluence, and sprang up abruptly, rubbing his 
eyes and pushing his thick hair from his 
brows. At his hasty movement, El-Rami 
turned slowly towards him with a grave yet 
kindly smile. 

"Well, Feraz" — he said- " Do you still 



i86 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



think me ' wicked ' now vou know all ? 
Speak frankly — do not be afraid." 

Feraz paused, irresolute. 

"I do not know what to think — " he 
answered hesitatingly, ^ — ''Your experiment 
is of course wonderful, — but — as I said before 
-—to me, it seems terrible." 

" Life is terrible — " said El- Rami — *' Death 

is terrible, — Love Is terrible,^ — ^God is terrible. 

All Nature's pulses beat to the note of Terror, 

-terror of the Unknown that May Be, — 

terror of the Known that Ls !" 

His deep voice rang with impressive 
solemnity through the room, — his eyes were 
full of that strange lurid gleam which gave 
them the appearance of having a flame behind 
them. 

" Come here, F'eraz,"' he continued — " Why 
do you stand at so cautious a distance from 
me ? With that brave show-dagger at your 
belt, are you a coward ? Silly lad ! I 
swear to you my Influence shall not touch 
you unless I warn you of it beforehand. 
Come !" 

F6raz obeyed, but slowly and with an un- 
certain step. His brother looked at him 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 187 



attentively as he came, — then, with a gesture 
indicating the volume before him, he said — 

** You found this book on my table yester- 
day and tried to read it, — is it not so ?" 

*'I did." 

*' Well, and have you learnt anything from 
it ?" pursued El-Rami with a strange smile. 

" Yes. I learnt how the senses may be 
deceived by trickery — " retorted Feraz with 
some heat and quickness — " and how a clever 
magnetizer — like yourself — may fool the eye 
and delude the ear with sights and sounds 
that have no existence." 

" Precisely. Listen to this passage ;" 
and El-Rami read aloud — '' ' The King when 
he had any affair, assembled the Priests with- 
out the City Memphis, and the People met 
together in the streets of the said City. Then 
they (the Priests) made their entrance one 
after another in order, the drum beating 
before them to bring the people together ; 
and every-one made some miraculous dis- 
covery of his Magick and Wisdom. One 
had, lo their thinking who looked on him, his 
face surrounded with a light like that of the 
Sun, so that none could look earnestly upon 



i88 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



him. Another seemed clad with a Robe 
beset with precious stones of divers colours, 
green, red, or yellow, or wrought with gold. 
Another came mounted on a Lion compassed 
with Serpents like Girdles. Another came 
in covered with a canopy or pavilion of 
Light. Another appeared surrounded with 
Fire turning about him, so as that nobody 
durst come near him. Another was seen 
with dreadful birds perching about his head 
and shaking their wings like black eagles 
and vultures. In fine, everyone did what 
was taught him ; — ye^ all was but Apparition 
and Ilhtsion withont any reality, insomuch 
that when they came up to the King they 
spake thus to him : — You imagined that it 
was so-and-so, — but the truth is that it was 
such or such a thing!^ The A B C of 
magnetism is contained in the last words- 
continued El- Rami lifting his eyes from the 
book, — *' The merest tyro in the science 

* This remarkable passage on the admitted effects of 
hypnotism as practised by the priests of ancient Egypt, will 
be found in an old history of the building of the Pyramids 
entitled — "The Egyptian Account of the Pyramids" — 
Written in the Arabic by Murtadi the son of Gaphiphus — 
date about 1400. 



i 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 189 

knows that ; and also realizes that the 
Imagination is the centre of both physical 
and bodily health or disease. And did you 
learn nothing more ?" 

Fdraz made a half-angry gesture in the 
negative. 

*' What a pity !" — and his brother surveyed 
him with good-humoured compassion — " To 
know how a ' miracle ' is done is one thing 
— but to do it is quite another matter. Now 
let me recall to your mind what I previously 
told you — that from this day henceforth, I 
forbid you to make any allusion to the 
subject of my work. I forbid you to mention 
the name of Lilith, — and I forbid you to 
approach or to enter the room where her 
body lies. You understand me ? — I forbid 
you !" 

Feraz's eyes flashed angry opposition, and 
he drew himself up with a haughty self- 
assertiveness. 

'* You forbid me !" he echoed proudly - 
" What right have you to forbid me any- 
thing } And how if I refuse to obey ?" 

El-Rami rose and confronted him, one 
hand resting on the big Arabic volume. 



I90 THE SOUL OF LILJTH 



" You will not refuse — " he said — " because 
I will take no refusal. You will obey, because 
I exact your obedience. Moreover, you will 
swear by the Most Holy Name of God, that 
you will never, either to me, or to any other 
living soul, speak a syllable concerning my 
life's greatest experiment, — you will swear 
that the name of Lilith shall never pass your 
lips " 

But here Feraz interrupted him. 

" El -Rami, I will no^ swear!" he cried 
desperately — '' The name of Lilith is sweet 
to me ! — why should I not utter it, — why 
should I not sing of it — why should I not 
even remember it in my prayers ?" 

A terrible look darkened El-Rami's coun- 
tenance ; his brows contracted darkly, and 
his lips drew together in a close resolute 
line. 

" There are a thousand reasons why — " 
he said in low fierce accents, — " One is, that 
the soul of Lilith and the body of Lilith are 
mine, and that you have no share in their 
possession. She does not need your songs 
— still less has she need of your prayers. 
Rash fool ! — you shall forget the name of 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 191 

Lilith — and you s/iall swear, as I command 
you. Resist my will if you can, — now ! — I 
warn you in time !" 

He seemed to grow in height as he spoke, 
— his eyes blazed ominously, and Feraz, 
meeting that lightning-like glance, knew how 
hopeless it would be for him to attempt to 
oppose such an intense force as was con- 
tained in this man's mysterious organization. 
He tried his best, — but in vain, — with every 
second he felt his strength oozing out of him 
— his power of resistance growing less and 
less. 

"Swear!" said El-Rami imperatively — 
" Swear in God's Name to keep my secret — 
swear by Christ's Death ! — swear on this r 

And he held out a small golden crucifix. 

Mechanically, but still devoutly, Feraz in- 
stantly dropped on one knee, and kissed the 
holy emblem. 

" I swear!" he said — but as he spoke, the 
rising tears were in his throat, and he mur- 
mured — ** Forget the name of Lilith ! — 
never !" 

'* In God's Name!" said El-Rami. 

" In God's Name !" 



192 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

*' By Christ's Death !" 

Feraz trembled. In the particular form 
of religion professed by himself and his 
brother, this was the most solemn and bind- 
ing vow that could be taken. And his voice 
was faint and unsteady as he repeated it — 

''By Christ's Death!" 

El-Rami put aside the crucifix. 

*' That is well ; — " he said, in mild accents 
which contrasted agreeably with his previous 
angry tone — " Such oaths are chronicled in 
heaven, remember, — and whoever breaks his 
sworn word is accursed of the gods. But 
you, — you will keep your vow, Feraz, — and 
. . . you will also forget the name of Lilith, 
—if I choose !" 

Feraz stood mute and motionless, — he 
would have said something, but somehow 
words failed him to express what was in his 
mind. He was angry, he said to himself, — 
he had sworn a foolish oath against his will, 
and he had every right to be angry — very 
angry, but with whom ? Surely not with his 
brother — his friend, — his protector for so 
many years ? As he thought of this, shame 
and penitence and old affection grew stronger 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 193 



and welled up in his heart, and he moved 
slowly towards El-Rami, with hands out- 
stretched. 

" Forgive me ;" — he said humbly. " I 
have offended you — I am sorry. I will 
show my repentance in whatever way you 
please, — but do not, El-Rami — do not ask 
me, do not force me to forget the name of 
Lilith, — it is like a note in music, and it 
cannot do you harm that I should think of it 
sometimes. For the rest I will obey you 
faithfully, — and for what is past, I ask your 
pardon." 

El-Rami took his hands and pressed them 
affectionately in his own. 

'' No sooner asked than granted — " he 
said — '* You are young, Feraz, — and I am 
not so harsh as you perhaps imagine. The 
impulsiveness of youth should always be 
quickly pardoned — seeing how gracious a 
thing youth is, and how short a time it lasts. 
Keep your poetic dreams and fancies — take 
the sweetness of thought without its bitter- 
ness, — and if you are content to have it so, 
let me still help to guide your fate. If not, 
why, nothing is easier than to part company, 

VOL. I. 13 



194 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

— part as good friends and brethren always, 
— you on your chosen road and I on mine, — 
who knows but that after all you might not 
be happier so ?" 

Feraz lifted his dark eyes, heavy with un- 
shed tears. 

'' Would you send me from you ?" he 
asked falteringly. 

'' Not I ! I would not send you,- — but you 
might wish to go." 

"Never!" said Feraz resolutely — "I feel 
that I must stay with you — till the end." 

He uttered the last words with a sigh, and 
El-Rami looked at him curiously. 

"Till the end?"— he repeated— " What 
end ?" 

" Oh, the end of life or death or anything ;" 
replied Feraz with forced lightness — '' There 
must surely be an end somewhere, as there 
was a beginning." 

" That is rather a doubtful problem !" said 
El-Rami — " The great question is, was there 
ever a Beginning ? and will there ever be an 
End r 

Feraz gave a languid gesture. 

"You inquire too far," — he said wearily — 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 195 



" I always think you inquire too far. I 
cannot follow you — I am tired. Do you 
want anything ? — can I do anything ? or may 
I go to my room ? I want to be alone for a 
little while, just to consider quietly what my 
life is, and what I can make of it." 

*' A truly wise and philosophical subject 
of meditation !" observed El-Rami, and he 
smiled kindly and held out his hand. Feraz 
laid his own slender fingers somewhat list- 
lessly in that firm warm palm ; — then — with 
a sudden start, looked eagerly around him. 
The air seemed to have grown denser, — 
there was a delicious scent of roses in the 
room, and hush ! . . . What entrancing 
voices were those that sang in the distance ? 
He listened absorbed ; — the harmonies were 
very sweet and perfect — almost he thought 
he could distinguish words. Loosening his 
hand from his brother's clasp, the melody 
seemed to grow fainter and fainter, — recog- 
nising this, he roused himself with a quick 
movement, his eyes flashing with a sudden 
gleam of defiance. 

** More magic music !" he said — '' I hear 
the sound of singing, and you hiozu that I 



196 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

hear it ! I understand ! — it is imagined music 
— your work, El-Rami, — your skill. It is 
wonderful, beautiful, — and you are the most 
marvellous man on earth ! — you should have 
been a priest of old Egypt ! Yes — I am 
tired — I will rest ; — I will accept the dreams 
you offer me for what they are worth, — but 
I must remember that there are realities as 
well as dreams, — and I shall not forget the 
name of — Lilith !" 

He smiled audaciously, looking as graceful 
as a pictured Adonis in the careless yet proud 
attitude he had unconsciously assumed, — then 
with a playful yet affectionate salutation he 
moved to the doorway. 

" Call me if you want me," he said. 

" I shall not want you ;" — replied his 
brother, regarding him steadily. 

The door opened and closed again, — Feraz 
was gone. 

Shutting up the great volume in front of 
him, El-Rami rested his arms upon it, and 
stared into vacancy with darkly - knitted 
brows. 

''What premonition of evil is there in the 
air T he muttered — " What restless emotion 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 197 

is at work within me ? Are the Fates turning 
against me ? — and am I after all nothing but 
the merest composition of vulgar matter — a 
weak human wretch capable of being swayed 
by changeful passions ? What is it ? What 
am I that I should vex my spirit thus — all 
because Lilith smiled at the sound of a voice 
that was not mine !" 







iV\ *^n\ 




CHAPTER XV. 

Just then there came a Hght tap at his door. 
He opened it, — and Zaroba stood before him. 
No repentance for her fault of disobedience 
and betrayal of trust, clouded that withered 
old face of hers, — her deep-set dark eyes 
glittered with triumph, and her whole aspect 
was one of commanding, and almost imperious 
dignity. In fact, she made such an osten- 
tatious show of her own self-importance in her 
look and manner that El- Rami stared at her 
for a moment in haughty amazement at what 
he considered her effrontery in thus boldly 
facing him after her direct violation of his 
commands. He eyed her up and down — 
she returned him glance for glance unquail- 
ingly. 

'' Let me come in — " she said in her strong 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 199 



harsh voice — *' I make no doubt but that the 
poor lad Feraz has told you his story — now, 
as God liveth, you must hear mine." 

El-Rami turned upon his heel with a con- 
temptuous movement, and went back to his 
own chair by the writing-table. Zaroba, pay- 
ing no heed to the wrath conveyed by this 
mute action, stalked in also, and shutting the 
door after her, came and stood close beside 
him. 

'' Write down what you think of me — " 
she said, pointing with her yellow forefinger 
at the pens and paper — '' Write the worst. 
I have betrayed my trust. That is true. I 
have disobeyed your commands after keeping 
them for six long years. True again. What 
else ?" 

El-Rami fixed his eyes upon her, a world 
of indignation and reproach in their brilliant 
depths, and snatching up a pencil he wrote 
on a slip of paper rapidly — 

'* Nothing else — nothing more than treach- 
ery ! You are unworthy of your sacred task 
— you are false to your sworn fidelity." 

Zaroba read the lines as quickly as he 
wrote them, but when she came to the last 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



words she made a swift gesture of denial and 
drew herself up haughtily. 

" No — not false !" she said passionately — 
"Not false to yoti, El- Rami, I swear ! I 
would slay myself rather than do you wrong. 
You saved my life, though my life was not 
worth saving, and for that gentle deed I 
would pour out every drop of my blood to 
requite you. No, no ! Zaroba is not false — 
she is true !" 

She tossed up her arms wildly, — then 
suddenly folding them tight across her chest, 
she dropped her voice to a gentler and more 
appealing tone. 

*' Hear me, El-Rami ! — Hear me, wise man 
and Master of the magic of the East! — I 
have done well for you ; — well ! I have dis- 
obeyed you for your own sake, — I have 
betrayed my trust that you may discover 
how and where you may find your best 
reward. I have sinned with the resolved 
intent to make you happy, — as God liveth, I 
speak truth from my heart and soul !" 

El-Rami turned towards her, his face ex- 
pressing curiosity in spite of himself. He 
was very pale, and outwardly he was calm 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



enough — but his nerves were on the rack of 
suspense — he wondered what sudden frenzied 
idea had possessed this woman that she 
should comport herself as though she held 
some strange secret of which the very utter- 
ance might move heaven and earth to wonder- 
ment. Controlling his feelings with an effort, 
he wrote again — 

"There exists no reason for disloyalty. 
Your excuses avail nothing — let me hear no 
more of them. Tell me of Lilith — what 
news ?" 

** News !" repeated Zaroba scornfully — 
" What news should there be ? She breathes 
and sleeps as she has breathed and slept 
always — she has not stirred. There is no 
harm done by my bidding Feraz look on her, 
— no change is wrought except in yotc, El- 
Rami ! — except in you !" 

Half springing from his chair he con- 
fronted her— then recollecting her deafness, 
he bit his lips angrily and sank back again 
with an assumed air of indifference. 

"You have heard Feraz — " pursued Zaroba, 
with that indescribable triumph of hers light- 
ing up her strong old face — " You must now 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



hear me. I thank the gods that my ears are 
closed to the sound of human voices, and 
that neither reproach nor curse can move me 
to dismay. And I am ignorant oi your magic, 
El-Rami, — the magic that chills the blood 
and sends the spirit flitting through the land 
of dreams, — the only magic / know is the 
magic of the heart — of the passions, — a 
natural witchcraft that conquers the world !" 

She waved her arms to and fro — then 
crossing them on her bosom, she made a 
profound half-mocking salutation. 

*' Wise El - Rami Zaranos !" she said. 
" Proud ruler of the arts and sciences that 
govern Nature, — have you ever, with all your 
learning, taken the measure of your own 
passions, and slain them so utterly that they 
shall never rise up again ? They sleep at 
times, like the serpents of the desert, colled 
up in many a secret place, — but at the touch 
of some unwary heel, some casual falling 
pebble, they unwind their lengths — they 
raise their glittering heads, and sting ! I, 
Zaroba, have felt them here " — and she 
pressed her hands more closely on her 
breast — '* I have felt their poison in my 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 203 

blood — sweet poison, sweeter than life ! — 
their stings have given me all the joy my 
days have ever known. But it is not of 
myself that I should speak — it is of you — 
of you, whose life is lonely, and for whom 
the coming years hold forth no prospect of 
delight. When I lay dying in the desert 
and you restored me to strength again, I 
swore to serve you with fidelity. As God 
liveth, El-Rami, I have kept my vow, — and in 
return for the life you gave me I bid you 
take what is yours to claim — the love of 
Lilith !" 

El-Rami rose out of his chair, white to the 
lips, and his hand shook. If he could have 
concentrated his Inward forces at that moment, 
he would have struck Zaroba dumb by one 
effort of his will, and so put an end to her 
undesired eloquence, — but something, he 
knew not what, disturbed the centre of his 
self-control, and his thoughts were in a whirl. 
He despised himself for the unusual emotion 
which seized him — inwardly he was furious 
with the garrulous old woman, — but out- 
wardly he could only make her an angry 
imperative sign to be silent. 



204 THE SOUL OF LI LITE 

'' Nay, I will not cease from speaking — " 
said Zaroba imperturbably — '' for all has to 
be said now, or never. The love of Lilith ! 
imagine it, El-Rami ! — the clinging of her 
young white arms — the kisses of her sweet 
red mouth, — the open glances of her innocent 
eyes — all this is yours, if you but say the 
word. Listen ! For six and more long 
years I have watched her, — and I have 
watched yotc. She has slept the sleep of 
death-in-life, for you have willed it so, — and 
in that sleep, she has imperceptibly passed 
from childhood to womanhood. You — cold 
as a man of bronze or marble, — have made 
of her nothing but a ' subject ' for your 
science, — and never a breath of love or 
longing on your part, or even admiration 
for her beauty, has stirred the virgin-trance 
in which she lies. And I have marvelled at 
it — I have thought — and I have prayed ; — 
the gods have answered me, and now I 
know !" 

She clapped her hands ecstatically, and 
then went on. 

" The child Lilith died, — but you, El- 
Rami, you caused her to live again. And 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 205 

she lives still — yes, though it may suit your 
fancy to declare her dead. She is a woman 
— you are a man ; — you dare not keep her 
longer in that living death — you dare not 
doom her to perpetual darkness ! — the gods 
would curse you for such cruelty, and who 
may abide their curse? I, Zaroba, have 
sworn it — Lilith shall know the joys of love ! 
— and you, El-Rami Zaranos, shall be her 
lover! — and for this holy end I have em- 
ployed the talisman which alone sets fire to 
the sleeping passions ..." and she craned 
her neck forward and almost hissed the word 
in his ear — ' Jealousy !' " 

El-Rami smiled — a cold derisive smile, 
which implied the most utter contempt for 
the whole of Zaroba's wild harangue. She, 
however, went on undismayed, and with 
increasing excitement — 

"Jealousy!" she cried — ''The little asp is 
in your soul already, proud El-Rami Zaranos, 
and why ? Because another's eyes have 
looked on Lilith ! This was my work ! It 
was I who led Feraz into her chamber, — it 
was I who bade him kneel beside her as she 
slept, — it was I who let him touch her hand, 



2o6 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

' — and though I could not hear his voice 
I know he called upon her to awaken. In 
vain ! — he might as well have called the 
dead — I knew she would not stir for him — 
her very breath belongs to you. But I — I 
let him gaze upon her beauty and worship 
it, — all his young soul was in his eyes — he 
looked and looked again and loved what he 
beheld ! And mark me yet further, El-Rami, 
. — I saw her smile when Feraz took her 
hand, — so, though she did not move, she 
felt ; she felt a touch that was not yours, — 
not yours, El-Rami ! — as God liveth, she is 
not quite so much your own as once she was !" 

As she said this and laughed in that 
triumphant way, El-Rami advanced one step 
towards her with a fierce movement as 
though he would have thrust her from the 
room, — checking himself, however, he seized 
the pencil again and wrote — 

'' I have listened to you with more patience 
than you deserve. You are an ignorant 
woman and foolish — your fancies have no 
foundation whatever in fact. Your dis- 
obedience might have ruined my life's work, 
— as it is, I dare say some mischief has been 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 207 



done. Return to your duties, and take heed 
how you trespass against my command in 
future. If you dare to speak to me on this 
subject again I will have you shipped back 
to your own land and left there, as friendless 
and as unprovided for as you were when I 
saved you from death by famine. Go — and 
let me hear no more foolishness." 

Zaroba read, and her face darkened and 
grew weary — but the pride and obstinacy of 
her own convictions remained written on 
every line of her features. She bowed her 
head resignedly, however, and said in slow 
even tones — 

*' El -Rami Zaranos is wise, — El - Rami 
Zaranos is master. But let him remember 
the words of Zaroba. Zaroba is also skilled 
in the ways and the arts of the East, — and 
the voice of Fate speaks sometimes to the 
lowest as well as to the highest. There are 
the laws of Life and the laws of Death — but 
there are also the laws of Love. Without 
the laws of Love, the Universe would cease 
to be, — it is for El- Rami Zaranos to prove 
himself stronger than the Universe, — if he 
can !" 



2o8 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

She made the usual obsequious " salaam " 
common to Eastern races, and then with a 
swift, silent movement left the room, closing 
the door noiselessly behind her. El-Rami 
stood where she had left him, idly tearing up 
the scraps of paper on which he had written 
his part of the conversation, — he was hardly 
conscious of thought, so great were his emo- 
tions of surprise and self-contempt. 

" * O what a rogue and peasant-slave am 
I !' " he muttered, quoting his favourite 
"Hamlet" — "Why did I not paralyze her 
tongue before she spoke ? Where had fled 
my force, — what became of my skill } Surely 
I could have struck her down before me 
with the speed of a lightning-flash — only — 
she is a woman — and old. Strange how these 
feminine animals always harp on the subject 
of love, as though it were the Be-all and 
End-all of everything. The love of Lilith ! 
Oh fool ! The love of a corpse kept breathing 
by artificial means ! And what of the Soul 
of Lilith.'* Can It love? Can It hate.-* Can 
It even feel ? Surely not. It is an ethereal 
transparency, — a delicate film which takes 
upon itself the reflex of all existing things 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 209 

without experiencing personal emotion. Such 
is the Soul, as I believe in it — an immortal 
Essence, in itself formless, yet capable of 
taking all forms, — ignorant of the joys or 
pains of feeling, yet reflecting all shades of 
sensation as a crystal reflects all colours in 
the prism. This, and no more." 

He paced up and down the room — and a 
deep involuntary sigh escaped him. 

** No — " he murmured, as though answering 
some inward query — *' No, I will not go to 
her now — not till the appointed time. I 
resolved on an absence of forty-eight hours, 
and forty-eight hours it shall be. Then I 
will go, — and she will tell me all — I shall 
know the full extent of the mischief done. 
And so Feraz ' looked and looked again, and 
/oved what he beheld !' Love ! The very 
word seems like a desecrating blot on the 
virgin soul of Lilith !" 



VOL. I. 14 




CHAPTER XVI. 

F^RAZ meanwhile was fast asleep in his own 
room. He had sought to be alone for the 
purpose of thinking quietly and connectedly 
over all he had heard, — but no sooner had 
he obtained the desired solitude than a sudden 
and heavy drowsiness overcame him, such as 
he was unable to resist, and throwing him- 
self on his bed, he dropped into a profound 
slumber, which deepened as the minutes crept 
on. The afternoon wore slowly away, — sun- 
set came and passed, — the coming shadows 
lengthened, and just as the first faint star 
peeped out in the darkening skies he awoke, 
startled to find it so late. He sprang from 
his couch, bewildered and vexed with him- 
self, — it was time for supper, he thought, and 
El-Rami must be waiting. He hastened to 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



the study, and there he found his brother 
conversing with a gentleman, — n^ other than 
Lord Melthorpe, who was talking in a loud 
cheerful voice, which contrasted oddly with 
El-Rami's slow musical accents, that ever 
had a note of sadness in them. When Feraz 
made his hurried entrance, his eyes humid 
with sleep, yet dewily brilliant, — his thick 
dark hair tangled in rough curls above his 
brows. Lord Melthorpe stared at him in 
honestly undisguised admiration, and then 
glanced at El-Rami inquiringly. 

" My brother, Feraz Zaranos — " said El- 
Rami, readily performing the ceremony of 
introduction — '' Feraz, this is Lord Mel- 
thorpe, — you have heard me speak of him." 

Feraz bowed with his usual perfect grace, 
and Lord Melthorpe shook hands with him. 

" Upon my word !" he said good- 
humouredly, " this young gentleman re- 
minds one of the ' Arabian Nights,' El-Rami ! 
He looks like one of those amazing fellows 
who always had remarkable adventures ; 
Prince Ahmed, or the son of a king, or 
something — don't you know ?" 

El-Rami smiled gravely. 



212 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

'* The Eastern dress is responsible for that 
idea in your mind, no doubt — " he repHed — 
" F6raz wears it in the house, because he 
moves more easily and is more comfortable 
in it than in the regulation British attire, 
which really is the most hideous mode of 
garb in the world. Englishmen are among 
the finest types of the human race, but their 
dress does them scant justice." 

" You are right — we're all on the same 
tailor's pattern — and a frightful pattern it is !" 
and his lordship put up his eyeglass to survey 
Feraz once more, the while he thought — 
" Devilish handsome fellow ! — would make 
quite a sensation in the room — new sort of 
craze for my lady." Aloud he said — " Pray 
bring your brother with you on Tuesday 
evening — my wife will be charmed." 

** F6raz never goes into society — ' replied 
El-Rami — " But of course, if you insist " 

''Oh, I never insist — " declared Lord Mel- 
thorpe, laughing — ** You are the man for in- 
sisting, not I. But I shall take it as a favour 
if he will accompany you." 

'' You hear, Feraz — " and El-Rami looked 
at his brother inquiringly — '' Lord Melthorpe 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 213 

invites you to a great reception next Tuesday 
evening. Would you like to go ?" 

Feraz glanced from one to the other half 
smilingly, half doubtfully. 

'* Yes, I should like it," he said at last. 

" Then we shall expect you, — " and Lord 
Melthorpe rose to take his leave, — '' It's a 
sort of diplomatic and official affair — fellows 
will look in either before or after the Foreign 
Office crush, which is on the same evening, 
and orders and decorations will be in full 
force, I believe. Oh, by the way, Lady Mel- 
thorpe begged me to ask you most particularly 
to wear Oriental dress." 

" I shall obey her ladyship ;" — and El-Rami 
smiled a little satirically — the character of 
the lady in question was one that always 
vaguely amused him. 

"And your brother will do the same, I 
hope ?" 

"Assuredly!" and El-Rami shook hands 
with his visitor, bidding Feraz escort him to 
the door. When he had gone, Feraz sprang 
into the study again with all the eager im- 
petuosity of a boy. 

"What is it like — a reception in England ?" 



214 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

he asked — " And why does Lord Melthorpe 
ask me ?" 

'' I cannot imagine !" returned his brother 
dryly — " Why do you want to go ?" 

'' I should like to see life ;" — said Feraz. 

'' See life !" echoed El-Rami somewhat 
disdainfully — " What do you mean ? Don't 
you ' see life ' as it is ?" 

"No!" answered Feraz quickly — "I see 
men and women — but I don't know how 
they live, and I don't know what they do." 

" They live in a perpetual effort to out- 
reach and injure one another " — said El-Rami, 
" and all their forces are concentrated on 
bringing themselves into notice. That is 
how they live, — that is what they do. It is 
not a dignified or noble way of living, but it 
is all they care about. You will see illustra- 
tions of this at Lord jMelthorpe's reception. 
You will find the woman with the most 
diamonds giving herself peacock -like airs 
over the woman who has fewest, — you will 
see the snob-millionaire treated with greater 
consideration by everyone than the born 
gentleman who happens to have little of this 
world's wealth. You will find that no one 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 215 



thinks of putting himself out to give 
personal pleasure to another, — you will hear 
the same commonplace observations froni 
every mouth, — you will discover a lack of 
wit, a dearth of kindness, a scarcity of cheer- 
fulness, and a most desperate want of tact 
in every member of the whole fashionable 
assemblage. And so you shall ' see life ' — if 
you think you can discern it there. Suffi- 
cient for the day is the evil thereof! — mean- 
while let us have supper, — time flies, and I 
have work to do to-night that must be done." 
Feraz busied himself nimbly about his 
usual duties — the frugal meal was soon pre- 
pared and soon dispensed with, and at its 
close, the brothers sat in silence. El- Rami 
watching Feraz with a curious intentness, 
because he felt for the first time in his life 
that he was not quite master of the young 
man's thoughts. Did he still remember the 
name of Lilith } El- Rami had willed that 
every trace of it should vanish from his 
memory during that long afternoon sleep in 
which the lad had indulged himself unresist- 
ingly, — but the question was now — Had that 
force of will gained the victory? He, El-Rami, 



2i6 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



could not tell — not yet — but he turned the 
problem over and over in his mind with 
sombre irritation and restlessness. Presently 
Feraz broke the silence. Drawing from his 
vest-pocket a small manuscript book, and 
raising his eyes, he said — 

'' Do you mind hearing something I wrote 
last night ? I don't quite know how it 
came to me — I think I must have been 
dreaming " 

" Read on ;"— said El-Rami— " If it be 
poesy, then its origin cannot be explained. 
Were you able to explain it, it would become 
prose." 

'' I dare say the lines are not very good," — 
went on Feraz diffidently — " yet they are the 
true expression of a thought that is in me. 
And whether I owe it to you, or to my own 
temperament, I have visions now and then — 
visions not only of love, but of fame — strange 
glories that I almost realize, yet cannot grasp. 
And there is a sadness and futility in it all 
that grieves me . . . everything is so vague 
and swift and fleeting. Yet if love, as you 
say, be a mere chimera, — surely there is such 
a thing as Fame .'*" 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 217 



"There Is — "and El-Rami's eyes flashed, 
then darkened again — " There is the applause 
of this world, which may mean the derision 
of the next. Read on !" 

Feraz obeyed. " I call it for the present 
' The Star of Destiny ' " — he said ; and then 
his mellifluous voice, rich and well modulated, 
gave flowing musical enunciation to the 
following lines : 

The soft low plash of waves upon the shore, 

Mariners' voices singing out at sea, 
The sighing of the wind that evermore 

Chants to my spirit mystic melody, — 
These are the mingling sounds I vaguely hear 

As o'er the darkening misty main I gaze, 
Where one fair planet, warmly bright and clear 

Pours from its heart a rain of silver rays. 

O patient Star of Love ! in yon pale sky 

What absolute serenity is thine ! 
Beneath thy stedfast, half-reproachful eye 

Large Ocean chafes, — and white with bitter brine, 
Heaves restlessly, and ripples from the light 

To darker shadows, — ev'n as noble thought 
Recoils from human passion, to a night 

Of splendid gloom by its own mystery wrought. 

'' What made you think of the sea ?" inter- 
rupted El-Rami. 

Feraz looked up dreamily. 



2i8 THE SOUL OF LJLITH 



'* I don't know," — he said. 
''Well!— goon!" 
Feraz continued, — 

O searching Star, I bring my grief to thee, — 

Regard it. Thou, as pitying angels may 
Regard a tortured saint, — and, down to me 

Send one bright glance, one heart-assuring ray 
f>om that high throne where thou in sheeny state 

Dost hang, thought-pensive, 'twixt the heaven and eaith : 
Thou, sure, dost know the secret of my Fate, 

For thou did'st shine upon my hour of birth. 

O Star, from whom the clouds asunder roll, 

Tell this poor spirit pent in dying flesh, 
This fighting, working, praying, prisoned soul. 

Why it is trapped and strangled in the mesh 
Of foolish Life and Time ? Its wild young voice 

Calls for release, unanswered and unstilled, — 
It sought not out this world, — it had no choice 

Of other worlds where glory is fulfilled. 

How hard to live at all, if living be 

The thing it seems to us ! — the few brief years 
Made up of toil and sorrow, where we see 

No joy without companionship of tears, — 
What is the artist's fame ? — the golden chords 

Of rapt musician ? or the poet's themes ? 
All incomplete I — the nailed down coffin boards 

Are mocking sequels to the grandest dreams. 

" That is not your creed," — said El-Rami 
with a searching look. 

Feraz sighed. '* No — it is not my actual 
creed — but it is my frequent thought." 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT 11 219 

"A thought unworthy of you," — said his 
brother — '' There is nothing left ' incomplete' 
in the whole Universe — and there is no 
sequel possible to Creation." 

*' Perhaps not, — but again perhaps there 
may be a sequel beyond all imagination or 
comprehension. And surely you must admit 
that some things are left distressingly incom- 
plete. Shelley's ' Fragments ' for instance, 
Keats's ' Hyperion ' — Schubert's ' Un- 
finished ' Symphony ' 

"Incomplete /le?^ — yes — ;" agreed El- 
Rami — " But — finished elsewhere, as surely 
as day is day, and night is night. There is 
nothing lost, — no, not so much as the lightest 
flicker of a thought in a man's brain, — nothing 
wasted or forgotten, — not even so much as 
an idle w^ord. JVe forget — but the forces of 
Nature are non-oblivious. All is chronicled 
and registered — all is scientifically set down 
in plain figures that no mistake may be made 
in the final reckoning." 

" You really think that ? — you really believe 
that ?" asked Feraz, his eyes dilating eagerly. 

" I do, most positively ;'■ — said El-Rami — 
*' It is a Fact which Nature most potently 



220 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

sets forth, and insists upon. But is there no 
more of your verse ?" 

" Yes — " and Feraz read on — 

O, we are sorrowful, my Soul and I : 

We war together fondly — yet we pray 
For separate roads, — the Body fain would die 

And sleep i' the ground, low-hidden from the day— 
The Soul erect, its large wings cramped for room, 

Doth pantingly and passionately rebel, 
Against this strange, uncomprehended doom 

Called Life, where nothing is, or shall be well. 

''Good!" — murmured El - Rami softly — 
" Good — and true !" 

Hear me, my Star ! — star of my natal hour, 

Thou calm unmoved one amid all clouds I 
Give me my birth-right, — the imperial sway 

Of Thought supreme above the common crowds,— 
O let me feel thy swift compelling beam 

Drawing me upwards to a goal divine ; 
Fulfil thy promise, O thou glittering Dream, 

And let one crown of victory be mine ; 

Let me behold this world recede and pass 

Like shifting mist upon a stormy coast 
Or vision in a necromancer's glass ; — 

For I, 'mid perishable earth can boast 
Of proven Immortality, — can reach 

Glories ungrasped by minds of lower tone ;— 
Thus, in a silence vaster than all speech, 

I follow thee, my Star of Love, alone I 

He ceased. El-Rami, who had listened 
attentively, resting his head on one hand, 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 221 

now lifted his eyes and looked at his young 
brother with an expression of mingled 
curiosity and compassion. 

*'The verses are good ;" — he said at last — 
" good and perfectly rhythmical, but surely 
they have a touch of arrogance ? — 

" ' I 'mid[perishable earth can boastj 
Of proven Immortality." 

What do you mean by ' proven ' Immortality ? 
Where are your proofs ?" 

** I have them in my inner consciousness ;" 
replied Feraz slowly — ''But to put them 
into the limited language spoken by mortals 
is impossible. There are existing emotions — 
existing facts, which can never be rendered 
into common speech. God is a Fact — but 
He cannot be explained or described." 

El- Rami was silent, — a slight frown con- 
tracted his dark even brows.* 

" You are beginning to think too much " — 
he observed, rising from his chair as he 
spoke — " Do not analyse yourself, Feraz, 
. . . self-analysis is the temper of the age, 
but it engenders distrust and sorrow. Your 
poem is excellent, but it breathes of sadness, 
— I prefer your 'star' songs which are so 



222 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

full of joy. To be wise is to be happy, — to 
be happy is to be wise " 

A loud rat-tat at the street-door inter- 
rupted him. Feraz sprang up to answer 
the imperative summons, and returned with 
a telegram. El- Rami opened and read it 
with astonished eyes, his face growing 
suddenly pale. 

"He will be here to-morrow night!" he 
ejaculated in a whisper — " To-morrow night! 
He, the saint — the king — here to-morrow 
night ! Why should he come ? — What 
would he have with me ?" 

His expression was one of dazed bewilder- 
ment, and Feraz looked at him inquiringly. 

''Any bad news?" he asked — "Who is it 
that is coming ?" 

El- Rami recollected himself, and folding 
up the telegram, thrust it in his breast- 
pocket. 

"A poor monk who is travelling hither 
on a secret mission solicits my hospitality 
for the night" — he replied hurriedly — "That 
is all. He will be here to-morrow." 

Feraz stood silent, an incredulous smile in 
his fine eyes. 



i 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 223 



'* Why should you stoop to deceive me, 
El- Rami my brother?" he said gently at 
last — " Surely it is not one of your ways to 
perfection ? Why try to disguise the truth 
from me ? — I am not of a treacherous nature. 
If I guess rightly, this 'poor monk' is the 
Supreme Head of the Brethren of the Cross, 
from whose mystic band you were dismissed 
for a breach of discipline. What harm is 
there in my knowing of this ?" 

El- Rami's hand clenched, and his eyes had 
that dark and terrible look in them that 
Feraz had learned to fear, but his voice was 
very calm. 

'' Who told you ?" he asked. 
" One of the monks at Cyprus long ago, 
when I went on your errand " — replied Feraz ; 
" He spoke of your wisdom, your power, 
your brilliant faculties, in genuine regret 
that all for some slight matter in which you 
would not bend your pride, you had lost 
touch with their various centres of action in 
all parts of the globe. He said no more 
than this, — and no more than this I know." 

''You know quite enough," — said El-Rami 
quietly — '' If I have lost touch with their 



224 '^^^^ SOUL OF LJLITH 

modes of work, I have gained insight beyond 
their reach. And, — I am sorry I did not at 
once say the truth to you — it is their chief 
leader who comes here to - morrow. No 
doubt," — and he smiled with a sense of 
triumph — " no doubt he seeks for fresh 
knowledge, such as I alone can give him." 

'* I thought," said Feraz in a low half-awed 
tone — " that he was one of those who are 
wise with the wisdom of the angels ?" 

'* If there are angels !" said El-Rami with 
a touch of scorn — " He is wise in faith alone 
— he believes and he imagines, — and there is 
no question as to the strange power he has 
obtained through the simplest means, — but I 
— I have no faith ! — I seek to prove — I work 
to know, — and my power is as great as his, 
though it is won in a different way." 

Feraz said nothing, but sat down to the 
piano, allowing his hands to wander over the 
keys in a dreamy fashion that sounded like 
the far-off echo of a rippling mountain 
stream. El-Rami waited a moment, listen- 
ing, — then glanced at his watch — it was 
growing late. 

'' Good-night, Feraz ;" — he said in gentle 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 225 

accents — " I shall want nothing more this 
evening. I am going to my work." 

" Good - night," — answered Feraz with 
equal gentleness, as he went on playing. 
His brother opened and closed the door 
softly ; — he was gone. 

As soon as he found himself alone, Feraz 
pressed the pedal of his instrument so that 
the music pealed through the room in rich 
salvos of sound — chord after chord rolled 
grandly forth, and sweet ringing notes came 
throbbing from under his agile finger-tips, 
the while he said aloud, with a mingling of 
triumph and tenderness — 

" Forget! I shall never forget! Does one 
forget the flowers, the birds, the moonlight, 
the sound of a sweet song.-^ Is the world so 
fair, that I should blot from my mind the 
fairest thing in it ? Not so ! My memory 
may fail me in a thousand things — but let 
me be tortured, harassed, perplexed with 
dreams, persuaded by fantasies, I shall never 
forget the name of " 

He stopped abruptly — a look of pain and 
terror and effort flashed into his eyes, — his 
hands fell on the keys of the piano with a 

VOL. I. 15 



226 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

discordant jangle, — he stared about him, 
wondering and afraid. • 

"The name — the name!" he muttered 
hoarsely — "A flower's name — an angel's 
name — the sweetest name I ever heard ! 
How is this ? — Am I mad that my lips refuse 
to utter it ? The name — the name of . . . 
My God ! my God ! I Aave forgotten it !" 

And springing from his chair he stood for 
one instant in mute wrath, incredulity and 
bewilderment, — then throwing himself down 
again, he buried his face in his hands, his 
whole frame trembling with mingled terror 
and awe at the mystic power of El-Rami's 
indomitable Will, which had, he knew, forced 
him to forget what most he desired to • 
remember. 





CHAPTER XVII. 



Within the chamber of Lilith all was very 
still. Zaroba sat there, crouched down in 
what seemed to be her favourite and accus- 
tomed corner, busy with the intricate thread- 
work which she wove with so much celerity ; 
— the lamp burned brightly, — there were 
odours of frankincense and roses in the air, 
— and not so much as the sound of a sup- 
pressed sigh or soft breath stirred the deep 
and almost sacred quiet of the room. The 
tranced Lilith herself, pale but beautiful, lay 
calm and still as ever among the glistening 
satin cushions of her costly couch, and just 
above her, the purple draperies that covered 
the walls and ceiling were drawn aside to 
admit of the opening of a previously-con- 
cealed window, through which one or two 



228 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



Stars could be seen dimly sparkling in the 
skies. A white moth, attracted by the light, 
had flown in by way of this aperture, and 
was now fluttering heedlessly and aimlessly 
round the lamp, — but by-and-bye it took a 
lower and less hazardous course, and finally 
settled on a shining corner of the cushion 
that supported Lilith's head. There the 
fragile insect rested. — now expanding its 
velvety white wings, now folding them close 
and extending its delicate feelers to touch 
and test the glittering fabric on which it 
found itself at ease, — but never moving from 
the spot it had evidently chosen for its night's 
repose. Suddenly, and without sound, El- 
Rami entered. He advanced close up to 
the couch, and looked upon the sleeping girl 
with an eager, almost passionate intentness. 
His heart beat quickly ; — a singular excite- 
ment possessed him, and for once he was 
unable to analyze his own sensations. Closer 
and closer he bent over Lilith's exquisite 
form,— doubtfully and with a certain scorn of 
himself, he took up a shining tress of her 
glorious hair and looked at it curiously as 
though it were something new, strange or 



THE SOIL OF LI LIT H 229 



unnatural. The little moth, disturbed, flew 
off the pillow and fluttered about his head in 
wild alarm, and El- Rami watched its reckless 
flight as it made off towards the fatally-attrac- 
tive lamp again, with meditative eyes, still 
mechanically stroking that soft lock of Lilith's 
hair which he held between his fingers. 

"Into the light!" he murmured — "Into 
the very heart of the light! — into the very 
core of the Fire ! That is the end of all 
ambition — to take wings and plunge so — into 
the glowing, burning molten Creative Centre 
— and die for our foolhardiness } Is that 
all ? — or is there more behind ? It is a 
question, — who may answer it ?" 

He sighed heavily, and leaned more closely 
over the couch, till the soft scarcely perceptible 
breath from Lilith's lips touched his cheek 
warmly like a caress. Observantly, as one 
might study the parts of a bird or a flower, 
he noted those lips, how delicately curved, 
how coral-red they were, — and what a soft 
rose-tint, like the flush of a pink sunrise on 
white flowers, was the hue which spread 
itself waveringly over her cheeks, — till there, 
— there where the long eyelashes curled up- 



230 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



wards, there were fine shadows, — shadows 
which suggested Hght, — such Hght as must 
be burning in those sweetly - closed eyes. 
Then there was the pure, smooth brow, over 
which little vine-like tendrils of hair caught 
and clung amorously, — and then — that won- 
drous wealth of the hair itself which like 
twin showers of gold, shed light on either 
side. It was all beautiful, — a wonderful gem 
of Nature's handiwork, — a masterpiece of 
form and colour which, but for him, El-Rami, 
would long ere this have mouldered away to 
unsightly ash and bone, in a lonely grave 
dug hurriedly among the sands of the Syrian 
desert. He was almost, if not quite, the 
author of that warm if unnatural vitality that 
flowed through those azure veins and branch- 
ing arteries,— he, like the Christ of Galilee, 
had raised the dead to life, — aye, if he chose, 
he could say as the Master said to the 
daughter of Jairus, " Maiden, arise !" and 
she would obey him — would rise and walk, 
and smile and speak, and look upon the 
world, — if he chose ! The arrogance of 
Will burned in his brain ; — the pride of power, 
the majesty of conscious strength made his 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 231 



pulses beat high with triumph beyond that 
of any king or emperor, — and he gazed down 
upon the tranced fair form, himself entranced, 
and all unconscious that Zaroba had come 
out of her corner, and that she now stood 
beside him, watching his face with passionate 
and inquisitive eagerness. Just as he reluc- 
tantly lifted himself up from his leaning 
position he saw her staring at him, and a 
frown darkened his brows. He made his 
usual imperative sign to her to leave the 
room, — a sign she was accustomed to under- 
stand and to obey — but this time she re- 
mained motionless, fixing her eyes steadily 
upon him. 

" The conqueror shall be conquered, El- 
Rami Zaranos — " she said slowly, pointing 
to the" sleeping Lilith — "The victorious 
master over the forces unutterable, shall yet 
be overthrown ! The work has begun, — the 
small seed has been sown — the great harvest 
shall be reaped. For in the history of 
Heaven itself, certain proud angels rose up 
and fought for the possession of supreme 
majesty and power — and they fell, — down- 
beaten to the darkness, — unforgiven : and 



232 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

are they not in darkness still ? Even so 
must the haughty spirit fall that contends 
against God and the Universal Law." 

She spoke impressively, and with a certain 
dignity of manner that gave an added force 
to her words, — but El - Rami's impassive 
countenance showed no sign of having either 
heard or understood her. He merely re- 
peated his gesture of dismissal, and this time 
Zaroba obeyed it. Wrapping her Rowing 
robe closely about her, she withdrew, but 
with evident reluctance, letting the velvet 
portiere fall only by slow degrees behind her, 
and to the last keeping her dark deep- set 
eyes fixed on El-Rami's face. As soon as 
she had disappeared, he sprang to where the 
dividing-curtain hid a massive door between 
the one room and the antechamber, — this 
door he shut and locked, — then he returned 
to the couch, and proceeded according to his 
usual method, to will the wandering spirit of 
his '* subject " into speech. 

"Lilith! Lilith!" 

, As before, he had to wait ere any reply was 
vouchsafed to him. Impatiently he glanced at 
the clock, and counted slowly a hundred beats. 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 233 

'' Lilith !" 

She turned round towards him, smiled, and 
murmured something — her lips moved, but 
whatever they uttered did not reach his ear. 

" Lilith ! Where are you ?" 

This time, her voice, though soft, was per- 
fectly distinct. 

*• Here. Close to you, with your hand on 
mine." 

El-Rami was puzzled. True, he held her 
left hand in his own, but she had never 
described any actual sensation of human 
touch before. 

" Then, — can you see me ?" he asked 
somewhat anxiously. 

The answer came sadly. 

" No. Bright air surrounds me, and the 
colours of the air — nothing more." 

*' You are alone, Lilith ?" 

Oh, what a sigh came heaving from her 
breast ! 

" I am always alone !" 

Half remorseful, he heard her. She had 
complained of solitude before, — and it was a 
thought he did not wish her to dwell upon. 
He made haste to speak again. 



!34 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



" Tell me," — he said — " Where have you 
been Lilith, and what have you seen ?" 

There was silence for a minute or two, and 
she moved restlessly. 

'' You bade me seek out Hell for you " — 
she murmured at last — " I have searched but 
I cannot find it." 

Another pause, and she went on. 

" You spoke of a strange thing," she said — 
"A place of punishment, of torture, of dark- 
ness, of horror and despair, — there is no such 
dreary blot on all God's fair Creation. In 
all the golden spaces of the furthest stars I 
find no punishment, no pain, no darkness. I 
can discover nothing save beauty, light, and 
— Love !" 

The last word was uttered softly, and 
sounded like a note of music, sweet but 
distant. 

El-Rami listened, bewildered, and in a 
manner disappointed. 

" O Lilith, take heed what you say !" he 
exclaimed with some passion — " No pain ? — 
no punishment ? no darkness ? Then this 
world is Hell and you know naught of it !" 

As he said this, she moved uneasily 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 235 



among her pillows, — then, to his amaze- 
ment, she suddenly sat up of her own 
accord, and went on speaking, enunciating 
her words with singular clearness and 
emphasis, always keeping her eyes closed 
and allowing her left hand to remain in his. 

" I am bound to tell you what I know ;" — 
she said — " But I am unable to tell you what 
is not true. In God's design I find no evil — 
no punishment, no death. If there are such 
things, they must be in your world alone, — 
they must be Man's work and Man's imagin- 
ing." 

"Man's work — Man's imagining!^" re- 
[)eated El- Rami — " And what is Man ?" 

" God's angel," replied Lilith quickly — 
'* With God's own attribute of Free- Will. 
He, like his Maker, doth create,— he also 
doth destroy, — what he elects to do, God 
will not prevent. Therefore if Man makes 
Evil, Evil must exist till Man himself 
destroys it." 

This was a deep and strange saying, and 
El-Rami pondered over it without speak- 
ing. 

"In the spaces where I roam," went on 



236 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

Lilith softly — ''there is no evil. Those who 
are the Makers of Life in yonder fair regions, 
seek only what is pure. Why should pain 
exist, or sin be known ? I do not under- 
stand." 

"No" — said El-Rami bitterly — "You do 
not understand, because you are yourself too 
happy, — happiness sees no fault in anything. 
Oh, you have wandered too far from earth 
and you forget ! The tie that binds you to 
this planet is over-fragile, — you have lost 
touch with pain. I would that I could make 
you feel my thoughts ! — for, Lilith, God is 
cruel, not kind, . . . upon God, and God 
alone, rests the weight of woe that burdens 
the universe, and for the eternal sorrow of 
things there is neither reason nor remedy." 

Lilith sank back again in a recumbent 
posture, a smile upon her lips. 

"O poor blind eyes!" she murmured — 
" Sad eyes that are so tired — too tired to 
bear the light !" 

Her voice was so exquisitely pathetic that 
he was startled by its very gentleness, — his 
heart gave one fierce bound against his side, 
and then seemed almost to stand still. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 237 



" You pity me?" he asked tremulously. 

She sighed. " I pity you " — she answered 
—"I pity myself." 

Almost breathlessly he asked '' Why ?" 

" Because I cannot see you — because you 
cannot see me. If I could see you — if you 
could see me as I am, you would know all — 
you would understand all." 

" I do see you, Lilith ' he said — '' I hold 
your hand." 

"No — not my real hand" — she said — 
" Only its shadow." 

Instinctively he looked at the delicate 
fingers that lay in his palm — so rosy-tipped 
and warm. Only the "shadow" of a hand! 
Then where was its substance ? 

"It will pass away" — went on Lilith — 
"like all shadows — but /shall remain — not 
here, not here, — but elsewhere. When will 
you let me go ?" 

" Where do you wish to go .'^" he asked. 

" To my friends," she answered swiftly 
and with eagerness — " They call me often — I 
hear their voices singing 'Lilith! Lilith!' 
and sometimes I see them beckoning me — 
but I cannot reach them. It is cruel, for 



238 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

they love me and you do not, — why will you 
keep me here unloved so long ?" 

He trembled and hesitated, fixing his dark 
eyes on the fair face, which, in spite of its 
beauty, was to him but as the image of a 
Sphinx that forever refused to give up its 
riddle. 

*' Is love your craving, Lilith ?" he asked 
slowly — ''And what is your thought — or 
dream — of love ?" 

*' Love is no dream ;" — she responded — 
" Love is reality — Love is Life. I am not 
fully living yet — I hover in the Realms 
Between, where spirits wait in silence and 
alone." 

He sighed. ''Then you are sad, Lilith.'^" 

" No. I am never sad. There is light 
within my solitude, and the glory of God s 
beauty everywhere." 

El- Rami gazed down upon her, an ex- 
pression very like despair shadowing his own 
features. 

" Too far, too far she wends her flight ;" — 
he muttered to himself wearily. " How can 
I argue on these vague and sublimated utter- 
ances ! I cannot understand her joy — she 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 239 

cannot understand my pain. Evidently 
Heaven's language is incomprehensible to 
mortal ears. And yet ; — Lilith !" he called 
again almost imperiously. " You talk of 
God as if you knew Him. But I — I know 
Him not — I have not proved Him, — tell me 
of His Shape, His Seeming, — if indeed you 
have the power." 

She was silent. He studied her tranquil 
face intently, — the smile upon it was in very 
truth divine. 

" No answer!" he said with some derision. 
" Of course, — what answer should there 
be ! What Shape or Seeming should there 
be to a mere huge blind Force that creates 
without reason, and destroys without neces- 
sity !" 

As he thus soliloquized, Lilith stirred, and 
flung her white arms upward as though in 
ecstasy, letting them fall slowly afterwards in 
a folded position behind her head, 

" To the Seven declared tones of Music, 
add seventy million more," — she said — "and 
let them ring their sweetest cadence, they 
shall make but a feeble echo of the music of 
God's voice. To all the shades of radiant 



240 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

colour, to all the lines of noblest form, add 
the splendour of eternal youth, eternal good- 
ness, eternal joy, eternal power, and yet we 
shall not render into speech or song the 
beauty of our God! From His glance flows 
Light — from His presence rushes Harmony, 
— as He moves through Space great worlds 
are born ; and at His bidding planets grow 
within the air like flowers. Oh to see Him 
passing 'mid the stars ! " 

She broke off suddenly and drew a long 
deep breath, as of sheer delight, — but the 
shadow on El - Rami's features darkened 
wearily. 

"You teach me nothing, Lilith " — he said 
sadly and somewhat sternly — " You speak of 
what you see — or what you think you see — 
but you cannot convince me of its truth." 

Her face grew paler, — the smile vanished 
from her lips, and all her delicate beauty 
seemed to freeze into a cold and grave 
rigidity. 

" Love begets faith ;" — she said — "Where 
we do not love, we doubt. Doubt breeds 
Evil, and Evil knows not God." 

"Platitudes, upon my life! — mere plati- 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 241 

tudes !" exclaimed El -Rami bitterly — "If 
this half-released spirit can do no more than 
prate of the same old laws and duties our 
preachers teach us, then indeed my service is 
vain. But she shall not baffle me thus ;" — 
and bending over Lilith's figure, he unwound 
her arms from the indolent position in which 
they were folded, took her hands roughly in 
his own, and sitting on the edge of her 
couch, fixed his burning eyes upon her as 
though he sought to pierce her to the 
heart's core with their ardent, almost cruel 
lustre. 

" Lilith!" he commanded — " Speak plainly, 
that I may fully understand your words, You 
say there is no hell T 

The answer came steadily. 

'' None." 

" Then must evil go unpunished ?" 

" Evil wreaks punishment upon itself. 
Evil destroys itself. That is the Law." 

**And the Prophets!" muttered El-Rami 
scornfully — " Well ! Go on, strange sprite ! 
Why — for such things are known — why does 
goodness suffer for being good ?" 

**That never is. That is impossible." 

VOL. I. 16 



242 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

'' Impossible ?" queried El-Rami incredu- 
lously. 

'' Impossible/' — repeated the soft voice 
firmly. " Goodness seefns to suffer, but it 
does not. Evil seems to prosper, but it does 
not." 

'' And God exists ?" 

" God exists." 

" And what of Heaven ?" 

" Which heaven ?" asked Lilith — " There 
are a million million heavens." 

El-Rimi stopped — thinking, — then finally 
said — 

" Gods Heaven." 

" You would say God's World ;" — returned 
Lilith tranquilly — " Nay, you will not let me 
reach that centre. I see it ; I feel it afar off 
— but your will binds me — you will not let 
me go." 

" If I were to let you go what would you 
do ?" asked El-Rami — " Would you return 
to me ?" 

" Never ! Those who enter the Perfect 
Glory, return no more to an imperfect 

light." 

El-Rami paused — he was arranging other 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 243 



questions to ask, when her next words 
startled him — 

" Someone called me by my name," — she 
said — "Tenderly and softly, as though it 
were a name beloved. I heard the voice — I 
could not answer — but I heard it — -and I 
know that someone loves me. The sense of 
love is sweet, and makes your dreary world 
seem fair !" 

El-Rami's heart began to beat violently — 
the voice of Feraz had reached her in her 
trance then after all ! And she remembered • 
it ! — more than this — it had carried a vague 
emotion of love to that vagrant and ethereal 
essence which he called her " soul " but which 
he had his doubts of all the while. For he was 
unable to convince himself positively of any 
such thing as " Soul ;" — all emotions, even of 
the most divinely transcendent nature, he was 
disposed to set down to the action of brain 
merely. But he was scientist enough to 
know that the brain must gather its ideas 
from something, — something either external 
or internal, — even such a vague thing as an 
Idea cannot spring out of blank Chaos. And 
this was what especially puzzled him in his 



244 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

experiment with the girl Lihth — for, ever 
since he had placed her in the " life-in-death " 
condition she was, he had been careful to 
avoid impressing any of his own thoughts or 
ideas upon her. And, as a matter of fact, all 
she said about God, or about a present or a 
future state, was precisely the reverse of what 
he himself argued ; — the question therefore 
remained — From Where and How did she 
get her knowledge ? She had been a mere 
pretty, ignorant, half- barbaric Arab child, 
•when she died (according to natural law), 
and, during the six years she had lived (by 
scientific law) in her strange trance, her brain 
had been absolutely unconscious of all ex- 
ternal impressions, while of internal she could 
have none, beyond the memories of her 
childhood. Yet, — she had grown beautiful 
beyond the beauty of mortals, and she spoke 
of things beyond all mortal comprehension. 
The riddle of her physical and mental 
development seemed unanswerable, — it was 
the wonder, the puzzle, the difficulty, the 
delight of all El-Rami's hours. But now 
there was mischief done. She spoke of love, 
— -not divine impersonal love, as was her 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 245 

wont, — but love that touched her own exist- 
ence with a vaguely pleasing emotion. A 
voice had reached her that never should 
have been allowed to penetrate her spiritual 
solitude, and realizing this, a sullen anger 
smouldered in El-Rami's mind. He strove 
to consider Zaroba's fault and Feraz's folly 
with all the leniency, forbearance and for- 
giveness possible, and yet the strange rest- 
lessness within him gave him no peace. 
What should be done ? What could be 
answered to those wistful words — "The 
sense of love is sweet, and makes your dreary 
world seem fair " '^ 

He pondered on the matter, vaguely un- 
easy and dissatisfied. He, and he alone, was 
the master of Lilith, — he commanded and 
she obeyed, — but would it be always thus } 
The doubt turned his blood cold, — suppose 
she escaped him now, after all his studies and 
calculations ! He resolved he would ask her 
no more questions that night, and very gently 
he released the little slender hands he held. 

'' Go, Lilith !" he said softly—'' This world, 
as you say, is dreary — I will not keep you 
longer in its gloom — go hence and rest." 



46 THE SOUL Ot LI LIT H 



"Rest?" sighed Lilith inquiringly — 
"Where?" 

He bent above her, and touched her loose 
gold locks almost caressingly. 

*' Where you choose !" 

" Nay, that I may not !" murmured Lilith 
sadly. " I have no choice — I must obey the 
Master's will." 

El-Rami's heart beat high with triumph at 
these words. 

*' My will !" he said, more to himself than 
to her — " The force of it ! — the marvel of it ! 
— viy will !" 

Lilith heard, — a strange glory seemed to 
shine round her, like a halo round a pictured 
saint, and the voice that came from her lips 
rang out v/ith singularly sweet clearness. 

" Your will !" she echoed — " Your will — 
and also — God's will !" 

He started, amazed and irresolute. The 
words were not what he expected, and he 
would have questioned their meaning, but 
that he saw on the girl's lovely features a 
certain pale composed look which he recog- 
nised as the look that meant silence. 

" Lilith !" he whispered. 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 247 



No answer. He stood looking down upon 
her, his face seeming sterner and darker than 
usual by reason of the intense, passionate 
anxiety in his burning eyes. 

" God's will !" he echoed with some dis- 
dain — "God's will would have annihilated 
her very existence long ago out in the desert ; 
— what should God do with her now that I 
have not done ?' 

His arrogance seemed to him perfectly 
justifiable ; and yet he very well knew that, 
strictly speaking, there was no such thing as 
"annihilation" possible to any atom in the 
universe. Moreover, he did not choose to 
analyze the mystical reasons as to zvky he 
had been permitted by Fate or Chance to 
obtain such mastery over one human soul, — 
he preferred to attribute it all to his own dis- 
coveries in science, — his own patient and un- 
tiring skill, — his own studious comprehension 
of the forces of Nature, — and he was nearly, 
if not quite oblivious of the fact, that there is 
a Something behind natural forces, which 
knows and sees, controls and commands, and 
against which, if he places himself in opposi- 
tion, Man is but the puniest, most wretched 



:48 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



Straw that was ever tossed or split by a 
whirlwind. As a rule, men of science work 
not for God so much as against Him, — 
wherefore their most brilliant researches stop 
short of the goal. Great intellects are 
seldom devout, — for brilliant culture begets 
pride — and pride is incompatible with faith 
or worship. Perfect science, combined with 
perfect selflessness, would give us what we 
need, — a purified and reasoning Religion. 
But El-Rami's chief characteristic was pride, 
— and he saw no mischief in it. Strong in 
his knowledge, — defiant of evil in the con- 
sciousness he possessed of his own extra- 
ordinary physical and mental endowments, 
he saw no reason why he should bow down 
in humiliated abasement before forces, either 
natural or spiritual, which he deemed himself 
able to control. And his brow cleared, as he 
once more bent over his tranced "subject" 
and with all the methodical precaution of a 
physician, felt her pulse, took note of her 
temperature and judged that for the present 
she needed no more of that strange Elixir 
which kept her veins aglow with such inex- 
plicably beauteous vitality. Then — his ex- 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 249 



amination done — he left the room ; and as 
he drew the velvet portiere behind him, the 
little white moth that had flown in for a 
night's shelter, fluttered down from the 
golden lamp like a falling leaf, and dropped 
on the couch of Lilith, shrivelled and dead. 





CHAPTER XVIII. 



The next day was very wet and stormy. 
From morning to night the rain fell in 
torrents, and a cold wind blew. El-Rami 
stayed indoors, reading, writing, and answer- 
ing a few of his more urgent correspondents, 
a great number of whom were total strangers 
to him, and who nevertheless wrote to him 
out of the sheer curiosity excited in them by 
the perusal of a certain book to which his 
name was appended as author. This book 
was a very original literary production, — the 
critics were angry with it, because it was so 
unlike anything else that ever was written. 
According to the theories set forth in its 
pages, Man the poor and finite, was proved 
to be a creature of superhuman and almost 
god-like attributes, — a *' flattering unction" 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 251 

indeed, which when laid to the souls of 
commonplace egoists, had the effect of 
making them consider El-Rami Zaranos a 
very wonderful person, and themselves more 
wonderful still. Only the truly great mind is 
humble enough to appreciate greatness, and 
of great minds there is a great scarcity. 
Most of El-Rami's correspondents were of 
that lower order of intelligence which blandly 
accepts every fresh truth discovered as 
specially intended for themselves, and not at 
all for the world, as though indeed they were 
some particular and removed class of superior 
beings who alone were capable of under- 
standing true wisdom. "Your work has 
appealed to me" — wrote one, "as it will not 
appeal to all, because I am able to enter into 
the divine spirit of things as the vulgar herd 
cannot do!" This, as if the "vulgar herd" 
were not also part of the '* divine spirit of 
things " ! 

"I have delighted in your book" — wrote 
another, " because I am a poet, and the 
world, with its low aims and lower desires I 
abhor and despise !" 

The absurdity of a man presuming to call 



252 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

himself a poet, and in the same breath de- 
claring he '* despises " the world, — the world 
which supports his life and provides him with 
all his needs, — never seems to occur to the 
minds of these poor boasters of a petty 
vanity. El- Rami looked weary enough as 
he glanced quickly through a heap of such 
ill-judged and egotistical epistles, and threw 
them aside to be forever left unanswered. 
To him there was something truly horrible 
and discouraging in the contemplation of the 
hopeless, helpless, absolute stupidity of the 
majority of mankind. The teachings of 
Mother Nature being always straight and 
plain, it is remarkable what devious turnings 
and dark winding ways we prefer to stumble 
into rather than take the fair and open 
course. For example Nature says to us — 
" My children, Truth is simple, — and I am 
bound by all my forces to assist its mani- 
festation. A Lie is difficult — I can have 
none of it — it needs other lies to keep it 
going, — its ways are full of complexity and 
puzzle, — why then, O foolish ones, will you 
choose the Lie and avoid the Truth ? For, 
work as you may, the Truth niust out, and 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 253 

not all the uproar of opposing multitudes can 
still its thunderous tongue." Thus Nature ; 
— but we heed her not, — we go on lying 
stedfastly, in a strange delusion that thereby 
we may deceive Eternal Justice. But 
Eternal Justice never is deceived, — never is 
obscured even, save for a moment, as a 
passing cloud obscures the sun. 

'' How easy after all to avoid mischief of 
any kind," mused El- Rami now, as he put 
by his papers and drew two or three old 
reference volumes towards him — *' How easy 
to live happily, free from care, free from 
sickness, free from every external or internal 
wretchedness, if we could but practise the 
one rule — Self-abnegation. It is all there, — 
and the ethereal Lilith may be right in her 
assurance as to the non-existence of Evil 
unless we ourselves create it. At least one 
half the trouble in the world might be 
avoided if we chose. Debt, for example, — 
that carking trouble always arises from living 
beyond one's means, — therefore why live 
beyond one's means ? What for } Show } 
Vulgar ostentation ? Luxury ? Idleness } 
All these are things against which Heaven 



254 THE SOUL OF ULITH 

raises its eternal ban. Then take physical 
pain and sickness, — here Self is to blame 
again, — self-indulgence in the pleasures of 
the table, — sensual craving, — the marriage 
of weakly or ill-conditioned persons, — all 
simple causes from which spring incalculable 
evils. Avoid the causes and we escape the 
evils. The arrangements of Nature are all, 
so clear and explicit, and yet we are forever 
going out of our way to find or invent 
difficulties. The farmer grumbles and writes 
letters to the newspapers if his turnip-fields 
are invaded by what he deems a ' destructive 
pest ' in the way of moth or caterpillar, and 
utterly ignores the fact that these insects 
always appear for some wise reason or other, 
which he, absorbed in his own immediate 
petty interests, fails to appreciate. His 
turnips are eaten, — that is all he thinks or 
cares about, — but if he knew that those 
same turnips contain a particular microbe 
poisonous to human life, a germ of typhoid, 
cholera or the like, drawn up from the soil 
and ready to fructify in the blood of cattle 
or of men, and that these insects of which 
he complains are the scavengers sentj by 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 255 



Nature to utterly destroy the Plague in 
embryo, he might pause in his grumbling to 
wonder at so much precaution taken by the 
elements for the preservation of his unworthy 
and ignorant being. Perplexing and at times 
maddening is this our curse of Ignorance, — 
but that the ' sins of the fathers are visited 
on the children ' is a true saying is evident — 
for the faults of generations are still bred in 
our blood and bone." 

He turned over the first volume before 
him listlessly, — his mind was not set upon 
study, and his attention wandered. He was 
thinking of Feraz, with whom he had scarcely 
exchanged a word all day. He had lacked 
nothing in the way of service, for swift and 
courteous obedience to his brother's wishes 
had characterized Feraz in every simple 
action, but there was a constraint between 
the two that had not previously existed. 
Feraz bore himself with a stately yet sad 
hauteur, — he had the air of a proud prince 
in chains who, being captive, performed his 
prison-work with exactitude and resignation 
as a matter of discipline and duty. It was 
curious that El- Rami, who had steeled him- 



256 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



self as he imagined against every tender 
sentiment, should now feel the want of the 
impetuous confidence and grace of manner 
with which his young brother had formerly 
treated him. 

' ' Everything changes — " he mused gloomily, 
" Everything mus^ change, of course ; and 
nothing is so fluctuating as the humour of a 
boy who is not yet a man, but is on the 
verge of manhood. And with Feraz my 
power has reached its limit, — I know exactly 
what I can do, and what I can no^ do with 
him, — it is a case of ' Thus far and no 
further.' Well, — he must choose his own 
way of life, — only let him not presume to 
set himself in my way, or interfere in my 
work ! Ye gods ! — there is nothing I would 

not do " 

He paused, ashamed ; the blood flushed 
his face darkly and his hand clenched itself 
involuntarily. Conscious of the thought that 
had arisen within him, he felt a moment's 
shuddering horror of himself. He knew that 
in the very depths of his nature there was 
enough untamed savagery to make him 
capable of crushing his young brother's life 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 257 



out of him, should he dare to obstruct his 
path or oppose him in his labours. Realizing 
this, a cold dew broke out on his forehead 
and he trembled. 

" O Soul of Lilith that cannot understand 
Evil !" he exclaimed — " Whence came this 
evil thought in me ? Does the evil in myself 
engender it ? — and does the same bitter gall 
that stirred the blood of Cain lurk in the 
depths of my being, till Opportunity strikes 
the wicked hour ? Retro me, Sathanas ! After 
all, there was something in the old beliefs — 
the pious horror of a devil, — for a devil there 
is that walks the world, and his name is 
Man !" 

He rose and paced the room impatiently, 
— what a long day it seemed, and with what 
dreary persistence the rain washed against 
the windows ! He looked out into the street, 
— there was not a passenger to be seen, — a 
wet dingy grayness pervaded the atmosphere 
and made everything ugly and cheerless. 
He went back to his books, and presently 
began to turn over the pages of the quaint 
Arabic volume into which Feraz had un- 
wisely dipped, gathering therefrom a crumb 

VOL. I. 17 



258 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

of knowledge, which, Hke all scrappy in- 
formation, had only led him to discontent. 

"All these old experiments of the Egyptian 
priests were simple enough — " he murmured 
as he read, — " They had one substratum of 
science, — the art of bringing the countless 
atoms that fill the air into temporary shape. 
The trick is so easy and natural, that I fancy 
there must have been a certain condition of 
the atmosphere in earlier ages which of itself 
shaped the atoms, — hence the ideas of nymphs, 
dryads, fauns and watersprites ; these tempo- 
rary shapes which dazzled for some fleeting 
moments the astonished human eye and so 
gave rise to all the legends. To shape the 
atoms as a sculptor shapes clay, is but a 
phase of chemistry, — a pretty experiment — 
yet what a miracle it would always seem to 
the uninstructed multitude !" 

He unlocked a drawer in his desk, and 
took from it a box full of red powder, and 
two small flasks, one containing minute 
globules of a glittering green colour like tiny 
emeralds, — the other full of a pale amber 
liquid. He smiled as he looked at these 
ingredients, — and then he gave a glance out 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 259 



through the window at the dark and rainy 
afternoon. 

**To pass the time, why not?" he queried 
half aloud. '' One needs a litde diversion 
sometimes even in science." 

Whereupon he placed some of the red 
powder in a small bronze vessel and set fire 
to it. A thick smoke arose at once and filled 
the room with cloud that emitted a pungent 
perfume, and in which his own figure was 
scarcely discernible. He cast five or six of 
the little green globules into this smoke ; they 
dissolved in their course and melted within 
it,^ — and finally he threw aloft a few drops of 
the amber liquid. The effect was extra- 
ordinary, and would have seemed incredible 
to any onlooker, for through the clou(;i a 
roseate Shape made itself slowly visible, — a 
Shape that was surrounded with streaks of 
light and rainbow flame as with a garland. 
Vague at first, but soon growing more dis- 
tinct, it gathered itself into seeming sub- 
stance, and floated nearly to the ground, — 
then rising again, balanced itself lightly like 
a blown feather sideways upon the dense 
mist that filled the air. In form this *'cor- 



26o THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



ruscation of atoms " as El-Rami called it, 
resembled a maiden in the bloom of youth, — 
her flowing hair, her sparkling eyes, her 
smiling lips, were all plainly discernible ; — 
but, that she was a mere phantasm and 
creature of the cloud was soon made plain, 
for scarcely had she declared herself in all 
her rounded laughing loveliness, than she 
melted away and passed into nothingness 
like a dream. The cloud of smoke grew 
thinner and thinner, till it vanished also so 
completely that there was no more left of it 
than a pale blue ring such as might have 
been puffed from a stray cigar. El - Rami, 
leaning lazily back in his chair, had watched 
the whole development and finish of his " ex- 
periment " with indolent interest and amuse- 
ment. 

"How admirably the lines of beauty are 
always kept in these effects," — he said to 
himself when it was over, — "and what a 
fortune I could make with that one example 
of the concentration of atoms if I chose to 
pass as a Miracle-maker. Moses was an 
adept at this kind of thing ; so also was a 
certain Egyptian priest named Borsa of 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 261 



Memphis, who just for that same graceful 
piece of chemistry was judged by the people 
as divine, — made king,- — and loaded with 
wealth and honour ; — excellent and most 
cunning Borsa! But we — we do not judge 
anyone * divine ' in these days of ours, not 
even God, — for He is supposed to be simply 
the lump of leaven working through the loaf 
of matter, — though it will always remain a 
question as to why there is any leaven or any 
loaf at all existing." 

He fell into a train of meditation, which 
caused him presently to take up his pen and 
write busily many pages of close manuscript. 
Feraz came in at the usual hour with supper, 
— and then only he ceased working, and 
shared the meal with his young brother, 
talking cheerfully, though saying little but 
commonplaces, and skilfully steering off any 
allusion to subjects which might tend to in- 
crease Feraz's evident melancholy. Once he 
asked him rather abruptly why he had not 
played any music that day. 

"I do not know " — answered the young 
man coldly — " I seem to have forgotten 
music — with other things." 



262 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

He Spoke meaningly ; — El-Rami laughed, 
relieved and light at heart. Those '' other 
things " meant the name of Lilith, which his 
will had succeeded in erasing from his 
brother's memory. His eyes sparkled, and 
his voice gathered new richness and warmth 
of feeling as he said kindly — 

" I think not, Feraz, — I think you cannot 
have forgotten music. Surely it is no extra- 
neous thing, but part of you, — a lovely portion 
of your life which you would be loth to miss. 
Here is your little neglected friend," — and, 
rising, he took out of its case an exquisitely 
shaped mandolin inlaid with pearl — "The 
dear old lute, — for lute it is, though moder- 
nized, — the same shaped instrument on which 
the rose and fuchsia-crowned youths of old 
Pompeii played the accompaniment to their 
love-songs ; the same, the very same on 
which the long-haired, dusky-skinned maids 
of Thebes and Memphis thrummed their 
strange uncouth ditties to their black-browed 
warrior kings. I like it better than the violin 
— its form is far more pleasing — we can see 
Apollo with a lute, but it is difficult to fancy 
the Sun-god fitting his graceful arm to the 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 263 



contorted positions of a fiddle. Play some- 
thing, Feraz " — and he smiled winningly as 
he gave the mandolin into his brother's 
hands — ''Here," — and he detached the 
plectrum from its place under the strings — 
"With this little piece of oval tortoiseshell, 
you can set the nerves of music quivering, — 
those silver wires will answer to your touch 
like the fibres of the human heart struck by 
the tremolo of passion." 

He paused, — his eyes were full of an 
ardent light, and Feraz looked at him 
wonderingly. What a voice he had ! — 
how eloquently he spoke ! — how noble and 
thoughtful were his features ! — and what an 
air of almost pathetic dignity was given to 
his face by that curiously snow-white hair of 
his, which so incongruously suggested age in 
youth ! Poor Feraz ! — his heart swelled 
within him ; love and secret admiration for 
his brother contended with a sense of out- 
raged pride in himself, — and yet — he felt his 
sullen amour-p7'Opre, his instinct of rebellion, 
and his distrustful reserve all oozing away 
under the spell of El - Rami's persuasive 
tongue and fascinating manner, — and to 



264 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

escape from his own feelings, he bent over 
the mandolin and tried its chords with a 
trembling hand and downcast eyes. 

"You speak of passion," he said in a low 
voice — "but you have never known it." 

"Oh, have I not!" and El-Rami laughed 
lightly as he resumed his seat — " Nay, if I 
had not I should be more than man. The 
lightning has flashed across my path, Feraz, 
I assure you, only it has not killed me ; 
and I have been ready to shed my blood 
drop by drop, for so slight and imperfect a 
production of Nature as — a woman ! A 
thing of white flesh and soft curves, and long 
hair and large eyes, and a laugh like the 
tinkle of a fountain in our Eastern courts, — a 
thing with less mind than a kitten, and less 
fidelity than a hound. Of course there are 
clever women and faithful women, — but then 
we men seldom choose these ; we are fools, 
and we pay for our folly. And I also have 
been a fool in my time, — why should you 
imagine I have not .^ It is flattering tome, 
but why }'' 

Feraz looked at him again, and in spite of 
himself smiled, though reluctantly. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 265 



" You always seem to treat all earthly 
emotions with scorn — " he replied evasively, 
" And once you told me there was no such 
thing in the world as love." 

" Nor is there — " said El- Rami quickly — 
" Not ideal love — not everlasting love. Love 
in its highest, purest sense, belongs to other 
planets — in this its golden wings are clipped, 
and it becomes nothing more than a common 
and vulgar physical attraction." 

F^raz thrummed his mandolin softly. 

*' I saw two lovers the other day — " he 
said — '' They seemed divinely happy." 

" Where did you see them r 

" Not here. In the land I know best — my 
Star." 

El-Rami looked at him curiously, but for- 
bore to speak. 

" They were beautiful — ' went on Feraz. 
'• They were resting together on a bank of 
flowers, in a little nook of that lovely forest 
where there are thousands of song - birds 
sweeter than nightingales. Music filled the 
air, — a rosy glory filled the sky, — their arms 
were twined around each other, — their lips 
met, and then — oh, then their joy smote me 



266 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

with fear, because, — because / was alone — 
and they were — together !" 

His voice trembled. El-Rami's smile had 
in it something of compassion. 

" Love in your Star is a dream, Feraz — " 
he said gently — " But love here — here in 
this phase of things we call Reality, — means, 
— do you know what it means ?" 

Feraz shook his head. 

"It means Money. It means lands, and 
houses and a big balance at the bank. 
Lovers do not subsist here on flowers and 
music, — they have rather more vulgar and 
substantial appetites. Love here is the dis- 
illusion of Love — there, in the region you 
speak of, it may perchance be perfect " 

A sudden rush of rain battering at the 
windows, accompanied by a gust of wind, 
interrupted him. 

" What a storm !" exclaimed Feraz, looking 
up — *' And you are expecting " 

A measured rat-tat-tat at the door came at 
that moment, and El-Rami sprang to his feet. 
Feraz rose also, and set aside his mandolin. 
Another gust of wind whistled by, bringing 
with it a sweeping torrent of hail. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 267 



" Quick !" said El- Rami, in a somewhat 
agitated voice — " It is — you know who it is. 
Give him reverent greeting, Feraz — and show 
him at once in here." 

Feraz withdrew, — and when he had dis- 
appeared. El- Rami looked about him vaguely 
with the bewildered air of a man who would 
fain escape from some difficult position, could 
he but discover an egress, — a slight shudder 
ran through his frame, and he heaved a deej) 
sigh. 

" Why has he come to me !" he muttered, 
" Why — after all these years of absolute 
silence and indifference to my work, does he 
seek me now ?" 





CHAPTER XIX, 



Standing in an attitude more of resignation 
than expectancy, he waited, Hstening. He 
heard the street-door open and shut again, — 
then came a brief pause, followed by the 
sound of a firm step in the outer hall, — and 
Feraz reappeared, ushering in with grave 
respect a man of stately height and majestic 
demeanour, cloaked in a heavy travelling 
ulster, the hood of which was pulled cowl- 
like over his head and almost concealed his 
features. 

" Greeting to El- Rami Zaranos — " said a 
rich mellow voice — "And so this is the 
weather provided by an English month of 
May ! Well, it might be worse, — certes, 
also, it might be better. I should have dis- 
burdened myself of these ' lendings ' in the 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 269 



hall, but that I knew not whether you were 
quite alone — " and, as he spoke, he threw off 
his cloak, which dripped with rain, and handed 
it to Feraz, disclosing himself in the dress of 
a Carthusian monk, all save the disfiguring 
tonsure. " I was not certain," he continued 
cheerfully — " whether you might be ready or 
willing to receive me." 

" I am always ready for such a visitor — " 
said El- Rami, advancing hesitatingly, and 
with a curious diffidence in his manner — 
" And more than willing. Your presence 
honours this poor house and brings with it a 
certain benediction." 

" Gracefully said, El- Rami !" exclaimed the 
monk with a keen flash of his deep-set blue 
eyes — "Where did you learn to make pretty 
speeches ? I remember you of old time as 
brusque of tongue and obstinate of humour, 
— and even now humility sits ill upon you, — 
'tis not your favourite practised household 
virtue." 

El-Rami flushed, but made no reply. He 
seemed all at once to have become even to 
himself the merest foolish nobody before this 
his remarkable-looking visitor with the brow 



270 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

and eyes of an inspired evangelist, and the 
splendid lines of thought, aspiration and en- 
deavour marking the already noble coun- 
tenance with an expression seldom seen on 
features of mortal mould. Feraz now came 
forward to proffer wine and sundry other 
refreshments, all of which were courteously 
refused. 

'' This lad has grown, El-Rami — " said 
the stranger, surveying Feraz with much 
interest and kindliness, — ''since he stayed 
with us in Cyprus and studied our views of 
poesy and song. A promising youth he 
seems, — and still your slave .^" 

El-Rami gave a gesture of deprecation. 

''You mistake — " he replied curtly — ''He 
is my brother and my friend, — as such he 
cannot be my slave. He is as free as air." 

" Or as an eagle that ever flies back to its 
eyrie in the rocks out of sheer habit — " 
observed the monk with a smile — " In this 
case you are the eyrie, and the eagle is never 
absent long ! Well — what now, pretty lad ?" 
this, as Feraz, moved by a sudden instinct 
which he could not explain to himself, 
dropped reverently on one knee. 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 17 1 

''Your blessing — " he murmured timidly. 
" I have heard it said that your touch 
brings peace, — and I — I am not at peace." 

The monk looked at him benignly. 

" We live in a world of storm, my boy — " 
he said gently — "where there is no peace 
but the peace of the inner spirit. That, with 
your youth and joyous nature, you should 
surely possess, — and if you have it not, may 
God grant it you ! 'Tis the best blessing I 
can devise." 

And he signed the Cross on the young 
man's forehead with a gentle lingering touch, 
— a touch under which Feraz trembled and 
sighed for pleasure, conscious of the delicious 
restfulness and ease that seemed suddenly to 
pervade his being. 

" What a child he is still, this brother of 
yours !" then said the monk, turning abruptly 
towards El-Rami — " He craves a blessing, — 
while you have progressed beyond all such 
need !" 

El-Rami raised his dark eyes, — eyes full 
of a burning pain and pride, — but made no 
answer. The monk looked at him steadily 
— and heaved a quick sigh. 



272 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

" Vigilate et orate ut non intretis in tenta- 
tionem /" he murmured, — " Truly, to forgive 
is easy — but to forget is difficult. I have 
much to say to you, El- Rami, — for this is 
the last time I shall meet you ' before I go 
hence and be no more seen.' " 

Feraz uttered an involuntary exclama- 
tion. 

" You do not mean," he said almost 
breathlessly — " that you are going to die T 

'' Assuredly not !" replied the monk with 
a smile — " I am going to live. Some people 
call it dying — but we know better, — we know 
we cannot die." 

" We are not sure — " began El-Rami. 

'' Speak for yourself, my friend !" said the 
monk cheerily — '' / am sure, — and so are 
those who labour with me. I am not made 
of perishable composition any more than the 
dust is perishable. Every grain of dust con- 
tains a germ of life — I am co-equal with the 
dust, and I contain my germ also, of life 
that is capable of infinite reproduction." 

El-Rami looked at him dubiously yet 
wonderingly. He seemed the very embodi- 
ment of physical strength and vitality, yet 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 273 



he only compared himself to a grain of dust. 
And the very dust held the seeds of life ! — 
true ! — then, after all, was there anything in 
the universe, however small and slight, that 
could die utterly ? And was Lilith right 
when she said there was no death ? Wearily 
and impatiently El-Rami pondered the ques- 
tion, — and he almost started with nervous 
irritation when the slight noise of the door 
shutting, told him that Feraz had retired, 
leaving him and his mysterious visitant alone 
together. 

Some minutes passed in silence. Ihe 
monk sat quietly in El-Rami's own chair, 
and El-Rami himself stood close by, waiting, 
as it seemed, for something ; with an air of 
mingled defiance and appeal. Outside, the 
rain and wind continued their gusty alterca- 
tion ; — inside, the lamp burned brightly, 
shedding warmth and lustre on the student- 
like simplicity of the room. It was the 
monk himself who at last broke the spell of 
the absolute stillness. 

*' You wonder," he said slowly — '' at the 
reason of my coming here, — to you, who are 
a recreant from the mystic tie of our brother- 

VOL. I. 18 



274 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

hood, — to you, who have employed the most 
sacred and venerable secrets of our Order, 
to wrest from Life and Nature the material 
for your own self-interested labours. You 
think I come for information — you think I 
wish to hear from your own lips the results 
of your scientific scheme of supernatural 
ambition, — alas, El-Rami Zaranos ! — how 
little you know me ! Prayer has taught me 
more science than Science will ever grasp, — 
there is nothing in all the catalogue of your 
labours that I do not understand, and you 
can give me no new message from lands 
beyond the sun. I have come to you out of 
simple pity, — to warn you and if possible to 
save." 

El- Rami's dark eyes opened wide in as- 
tonishment. 

"To warn me .'^" he echoed — *' To save? 
From what ? — Such a mission to me is in- 
comprehensible." 

" Incomprehensible to your stubborn spirit, 
— yes, no doubt it is — " said the monk, with 
a touch of stern reproach in his accents, — 
'' For you will not see that the Veil of the 
Eternal, though it may lift itself for you a little 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 275 

from other men's lives, hangs dark across your 
own, and is impervious to your gaze. You 
will not grasp the fact that though it may be 
given to you to read other men's passions, 
you cannot read your own. You have begun 
at the wrong end of the mystery, El-Rami, — 
you should have mastered yourself first before 
seeking to master others. And now there is 
danger ahead of you — be wise in time, — 
accept the truth before it is too late." 

El-Rami listened, impatient and incredu- 
lous. 

" Accept what truth ?" he asked somewhat 
bitterly — " Am I not searching for truth 
everywhere ? and seeking to prove it ? Give 
me any sort of truth to hold, and I will grasp it 
as a drowning sailor grasps the rope of rescue!" 

The monk's eyes rested on him in mingled 
compassion and sorrow. 

** After all these years — " he said — " are 
you still asking Pilate's question ?" 

** Yes — I am still asking Pilate's question !" 
retorted El-Rami with sudden passion — " See 
you — I know who you are, — great and wise, 
a master of the arts and sciences, and with 
all your stores of learning, still a servant of 



276 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

Christ, which to me, is the wildest, maddest 
incongruity. I grant you that Christ was 
the holiest man that ever lived on earth, — 
and if I swear a thing in His name, I swear 
an oath that shall not be broken. But in 
His Divinity, I cannot, I may not, I dare 
not believe ! — except in so far that there is 
divinity in all of us. One man, born of 
woman, destined to regenerate the world ! — 
the idea is stupendous, — but impossible to 
reason !" 

He paced the room impatiently. 
'' If I could believe it — I say ' if,' " — he 
continued, " I should still think it a clumsy 
scheme. For every human creature living 
should be a reformer and regenerator of his 
race." 

'* Like yourself?" queried the monk calmly. 
" What hdive you done, for example ?" 
El-Rami stopped in his walk to and fro. 
"What have I done?" he repeated — 
"Why — nothing! You deem me proud and 
ambitious, — but I am humble enough to 
know how little I know. And as to proofs, 
— well, it is the same story — I have proved 
— nothing." 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 277 

" So ! Then are your labours wasted ?" 
" Nothing is wasted, — according to your 
theories even. Your theories — many of 
them — are beautiful and soul-satisfying, and 
this one of there being no waste in the 
economy of the universe is, I believe, true. 
But I cannot accept all you teach. I broke 
my connection with you because I could not 
bend my spirit to the level of the patience 
you enjoined. It was not rebellion, — no! 
for I loved and honoured you — and I still 
revere you more than any man alive, but I 
cannot bow my neck to the yoke you con- 
sider so necessary. To begin all work by 
first admitting one's weakness ! — no ! — Power 
is gained by never-resting ambition, not by a 
merely laborious humility." 

" Opinions differ on that point " — said the 
monk quietly — " I never sought to check 
your ambition — I simply said — Take God 
with you. Do not leave Him out. He IS. 
Therefore His existence must be included in 
everything, even in the scientific examination 
of a drop of dew. Without Him you grope 
in the dark — you lack the key to the mystery. 
As an example of this, you are yourself 



278 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

battering against a shut door, and fighting 
with a Force too strong for you." 

" I must have proofs of God !" said El- 
Rami very deUberately — " Nature proves her 
existence ; let God prove His !" 

" And does He not prove it ?" inquired the 
monk with mingled passion and solemnity — ■ 
" Have you to go further than the commonest 
flower to find Him ?" 

El- Rami shrugged his shoulders with an 
air of light disdain. 

''Nature is Nature," — he said — "God — 
an there be a God — is God. If God works 
through Nature He arranges things very 
curiously on a system of mutual destruction. 
You talk of flowers, — they contain both 
poisonous and healing properties, — and the 
poor human race has to study and toil for 
years before finding out which is which. Is 
that just of Nature — or God ? Children never 
know at all, — and the poor little wretches 
die often through eating poison-berries of 
whose deadly nature they were not aware. 
That is what I complain of — we are not 
aware of evil, and we are not made aware. 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 279 

We have to find it out for ourselves. And I 
maintain that it is wanton cruelty on the part 
of the Divine Element to punish us for 
ignorance which we cannot help. And so 
the plan of mutual destructiveness goes on, 
with the most admirable persistency ; the 
eater is in turn eaten, and as far as I can 
make out, this seems to be the one Ever- 
lasting Law. Surely it is an odd and 
inconsequential arrangement ? As for the 
business of creation, that is easy, if once we 
grant the existence of certain component 
parts of space. Look at this, for example " — 
and he took from a corner a thin steel rod 
about the size of an ordinary walking cane — 
•' If I use this magnet, and these few crystals " 
— and he opened a box on the table, contain- 
ing some sparkling powder like diamond dust, 
a pinch of which he threw up into the air — 
"and play with them thus, you see what 
happens !" 

And with a dexterous steady motion, he 
waved the steel rod rapidly round and round 
in the apparently empty space where he 
had tossed aloft the pinch of powder, and 



28o THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 

gradually there grew into shape out of the 
seeming nothingness, a round large brilliant 
globe of prismatic tints, like an enormously 
magnified soap-bubble, which followed the 
movement of the steel magnet rapidly and 
accurately. The monk lifted himself a little 
in his chair and watched the operation with 
interest and curiosity — till presently El- Rami 
dropped the steel rod from sheer fatigue of 
arm. But the globe went on revolving 
steadily by itself for a time, and El-Rami 
pointed to it with a smile — 

"If I had the skill to send that bubble- 
sphere out into space, solidify it, and keep it 
perpetually rolling," he said lightly, "it would 
in time exhale its own atmosphere and pro- 
duce life, and I should be a very passable 
imitation of the Creator." 

At that moment, the globe broke and 
vanished like a melting snowflake, leaving 
no trace of its existence but a little white 
dust which fell in a round circle on the 
carpet. After this display, El-Rami waited 
for his guest to speak, but the monk said 
nothing. 



THE SOUL OF LILITII 281 



"You see," continued El-Rami — ''it re- 
quires a great deal to satisfy me with proofs. 
I must have tangible Fact, not vague 
Imagining." 

The monk raised his eyes, — what search- 
ing calm eyes they were ! — and fixed them 
full on the speaker. 

''Your Sphere was a Fact," — he said 
quietly — " Visible to the eye, it glittered and 
whirled — but it was not tangible, and it had 
no life in it. It is a fair example of other 
Facts, — so-called. And you could not have 
created so much as that perishable bubble, 
had not God placed the materials in your 
hands. It is odd you seem to forget that. 
No one can work without the materials 
for working, — the question remains, from 
Whence came those materials ?" 

El-Rami smiled with a touch of scorn. 

" Rightly are you called Supreme Master !" 
he said — "for your faith is marvellous — your 
ideas of life both here and hereafter, beautiful. 
I wish I could accept them. But I cannot. 
Your way does not seem to me clear or 
reasonable, — and I have thought it out in 



282 THE SOUL OF LILITH 



every direction. Take the doctrine of original 
sin for example — what is original sin, and 
why should it exist ?" 

*' It does not exist — " said the monk 
quickly — " except in so far that we have 
created it. It is we, therefore, who must 
destroy it." 

El-Rami paused, thinking. This was the 
same lesson Lilith had taught. 

'' If we created it — " he said at last, " and 
there is a God who is omnipotent, why were 
we allowed to create it ?" 

The monk turned round in his chair with 
ever so slight a gesture of impatience. 

" How often have I told you, El-Rami 
Zaranos," he said, — "of the gift and re- 
sponsibility bestowed on every human unit — 
Free-Will. You, who seek for proofs of the 
Divine, should realize that this is the only 
proof we have in ourselves, of our close 
relation to * the image of God.' God's Laws 
exist, — and it is our first business in life to 
know and understand these — afterwards, our 
fate is in our own hands, — if we transgress 
law, or if we fulfil law, we know, or ought to 



THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



know, the results. If we choose to make 
evil, it exists till we destroy it — good we 
cannot }7iake, because it is the very breath of 
the Universe, but we can choose to breathe 
in it and with it. I have so often gone over 
this ground with you, that it seems mere 
waste of words to go over it again, — and if 
you cannot, will not see that you are creating 
your own destiny and shaping it to your own 
will, apart from anything that human or 
divine experience can teach you, then you 
are blind indeed. But time wears on apace, 
— and I must speak of other things ; — one 
message I have for you that will doubtless 
cause you pain." He waited a moment — 
then went on slowly and sadly — " Yes, — the 
pain will be bitter and the suffering long, — 
but the fiat has gone forth, and ere long, 
you will be called upon to render up the 
Soul of Lilith." 

El- Rami started violently,— flushed a deep 
red, and then grew deadly pale. 

*' You speak in enigmas — " he said 
huskily and with an effort— "What do you 
know — how have you heard " 



284 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



He broke off, — his voice failed him, and 
the monk looked at him compassionately. 

" Judge not the power of God, El-Rami 
Zaranos !" he said solemnly — '' for it seems 
you cannot even measure the power of man. 
What ! — did you think your secret experi- 
ment safely hid from all knowledge save 
your own } — nay ! you mistake. I have 
watched your progress step by step — your 
proud march onward through such mysteries 
as never mortal mind dared penetrate before, 
—but even these wonders have their limits 
— and those limits are, for you, nearly reached. 
You must set your captive free !" 

" Never!" exclaimed El-Rami passionately. 
" Never, while I live ! I defy the heavens 
to rob me of her ! — by every law in nature, 
she is mine !" 

*' Peace !" said the monk sternly — "Nothing 
is yours, — except the fate you have made for 
yourself. That is yours ; and that must and 
will be fulfilled. That, in its own appointed 
time, will deprive you of Lilith." 

El - Rami's eyes flashed wrath and 
jjain. 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 



"What have you to do with my fate ?" he 
demanded — " How should you know what is 
in store for me ? You are judged to have a 
marvellous insight into spiritual things, but 
it is not insight after all so much as imagina- 
tion and instinct. These may lead you wrong, 
— you have gained them, as you yourself 
admit, through nothing but inward concentra- 
tion and prayer — my discoveries are the result 
of scientific exploration, — there is no science 
in prayer !" 

'' Is there not ?" — and the monk, rising 
from his chair, confronted El- Rami with the 
reproachful majesty of a king who faces 
some recreant vassal — " Then with all your 
wisdom you are ignorant, — ignorant of the 
commonest laws of simple Sound. Do you 
not yet know — have you not yet learned that 
Sound vibrates in a million million tones 
through every nook and corner of the 
Universe ? Not a whisper, not a cry from 
human lips is lost — not even the trill of a 
bird or the rustle of a leaf All is heard, — 
all is kept, — all is reproduced at will forever 
and ever. What is the use of your modern 



286 THE SOUL OF LILITH 

toys, the phonograph and the telephone, if 
they do not teach you the fundamental and 
external law by which these adjuncts to 
civilization are governed ? God — the great, 
patient loving God — hears the huge sound- 
ing-board of space re-echo again and yet 
again with rough curses on His Name, — 
with groans and wailings ; shouts, tears and 
laughter send shuddering discord through 
His Everlasting Vastness, but amid it all 
there is a steady strain of music, — full, sweet 
and pure — the music of perpetual prayer. 
No science in prayer ! Such science there 
is, that by its power the very ether parts 
asunder as by a lightning-stroke — the highest 
golden gateways are unbarred, — and the con- 
necting-link 'twixt God and Man, stretches 
itself through Space, between and round all 
worlds, defying any force to break the 
current of its messages." 

He spoke with fervour and passion, — El- 
Rami listened silent and unconvinced. 

*' I waste my words, I know — " continued 
the monk — '' For you, Yourself suffices. 
What your brain dares devise, — what your 



THE SOUL OF LILITH 287 



hand dares attempt, that you will do, un- 
advisedly, sure of your success without the 
help of God or man. Nevertheless — you 
may not keep the Soul of Lilith." 

His voice was very solemn yet sweet ; 
El' Rami, lifting his head, looked full at him, 
wonderingly, earnestly, and as one in doubt. 
Then his mind seemed to grasp more com- 
pletely his visitor's splendid presence, — the 
noble face, the soft commanding eyes, — and 
instinctively he bent his proud head with a 
sudden reverence. 

'' Truly you are a god-like man — " he said 
slowly — " God-like in strength, and pure- 
hearted as a child. I would trust you in 
many things, if not in all. Therefore, — as 
by some strange means you have possessed 
yourself of my secret, — come with me, — and 
I will show you the chiefest marvel of my 
science — the life I claim — the spirit I 
dominate. Your warning I cannot accept, 
because you warn me of what is impossible. 
Impossible — I say, impossible! — for the 
human Lilith, God's Lilith, died — according 
to God's will ; my Lilith lives, according to 



!88 THE SOUL OF LI LIT H 



My will. Come and see, — then perhaps you 
will understand how it is that I — I, and not 
God any longer, — claim and possess the 
Soul I saved !" 

With these words, uttered in a thrilling 
tone of pride and passion, he opened the 
study door and with a mute inviting gesture, 
led the way out. In silence and with a 
pensive step, the monk slowly followed. 



END OF VOL. I. 



BILLING AND SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD. 

C, C. A* Cc. 



^'I'iiiiii^it^^ 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA 




3 0112 005640716